Most of you are not aware, but I have gone back to school in my middle-aged wisdom, to learn about things like Urban Farming, Permaculture, and Holistic Wellness. I finished my first class this past week in “Sustainability and Conscious Living.” It resonated with me on so many levels, and it has really helped me to organize my ideas and formulate some plans. I do not see myself as a life-off-the-grid sort of gal. There are blogs and websites out there that teach you how to do things like prepare for disaster, protect your home, build a cistern and filter rainwater for drinking. I read some of them, and I am aware of them, but I am not really like that – I like my suburban neighborhood. I like having a dryer, and a dishwasher and I even -gasp- drive a gas-guzzling SUV, though much less than before. But I also have become hyper-aware of the state of our world, and the mechanisms behind our food system, and where things we all take for granted come from. I am aware that our government has legislated itself out of the ability to protect us from things like food-born illness, and into the nutritionally void Standard America Diet. All of this information is out there for those that choose to look for it.
My wish is to integrate more sustainable practices into my life in a kinder, gentler way. Reducing my impact while, at the same time, making others like me more aware of ways that they can do the same. Living more sustainably does not have to mean a radical alternative lifestyle. It does mean that you need to be aware of the impact that your actions, and the actions of others around you, has on our world, locally, regionally and globally. That taking a few small, gentle steps can have a huge impact on the lives of our children, and our children’s children. It also means being more self-sufficient so that when hard times do come, you are not caught unaware and you have a plan in place and can take action.
Anyway, back to my new education… As part of my final project, I wrote a set of essays on ways I wanted to live more sustainably. I would like to share them with you here, in serial fashion, so that you can understand where I am coming from. A lot of it has already been covered, haphazardly and in a piecemeal manner, in this blog over the years. I had to consolidate my tale into a shorter format for my presentation to the class. I made it a little romantic, and a little tragic, because I love a good story. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed putting it together.
The Lady’s Garden
Part One – A Story of Hope
The Lady and her Noble Knght
Once upon a time, near the desert kingdom of Phoenix,
There lived a lady with too much time on her hands.
For years she had been a slave to illness and despair
And she did not feel at ease in the world she knew.
She ventured out seeking wisdom and understanding
about how the world could be so far out of harmony
with the way she felt in her heart that it should be.
The lady was not rich or famous, but she was well loved by a Noble Knight who supported her in her quest for enlightenment, for he knew she would not be happy until she found the answers she was seeking.
Also know that the noble pair had a small land holding, in a well established colony of almost identical parcels near the great desert kingdom, but their land had stood empty and barren for many years because, though noble, the couple had no great wealth to draw upon. Nothing to sculpt a cooling pond, or a playing field of green grass for their young offspring to frolic upon, as all the other nobles of the land had done.
The Noble Steed
The Noble Knight had used their parcel of land to keep his most prized possession, a once-mighty steed that had carried him, and his father before him, in glorious splendor. The steed was now old and lame and had stood unused in lonely despair and solitude within the confines of the small parcel of land for many years.
Over the years, as their children grew, and as the mighty steed grew more and more decrepit and refused to die, the Lady searched and dabbled. She dabbled at work, and at play, she dabbled in art and in culture and at community work and she still felt it was not quite the answer she was looking for. In her search for answers, she came across many supposed wise men and women who told her that their magic chemical elixir, or their sacred rituals would cure her many ailments and her unease. They did not.
Then she began to dabble in food and learned about the supposed magical, yet restricted qualities of Atkins, Paleo, Low-carb, no-carb, vegan and gluten-free. And still she was not well.
In her search for answers with food, she learned so much about where her food was coming from and how it was grown, that she began to feel that maybe the answer to health was not in the amount or type of food she was eating, but in the source of it, what was in it, how it was grown, where it came from and how it was processed. She was soon overwhelmed and sickened even more by what she learned.
She looked around her, and wondered what she, past her prime and in poor health, could do about what she and her beloved family were made to eat. She pondered and decided she would try dabbling at gardening and see if she could grow some healthy food for her family.
She would have to start small, because she did not have the resources or the strength she thought she would need. So she bought some pots and some seeds and set about her experiment.
To Be Continued…