The Dream

I feel as if I should give more of an evident "disclaimer" to this blog. Here me when I say, I am in no way trying to "condemn" anyone for not being a hardcore locavore. I am walking on this journey as a way to stop and think about my own life and my own actions. This is about eating right and living ethically. I am not trying to look down on anyone. This is just me trying to be the person I dream about being.

Speaking of dreams. I wanted to share something I wrote in my journal on Sunday, August 8th 2010 on the evening we spent at my aunt and uncle's house in Tennessee.

There is a kindred spirit in this house – one that I come to find in surprising places like here in Tennessee at the house of my relatives who I barely get to see but automatically love because of the traces of our grandparents I see deeply ground into us: The spooky Yoder-brother resemblance in my Uncle Nate and father Sanford (a look that looks more and more like my Grandpa as they both age each year); the warm hospitality of Aunt CB's that is undoubtedly Southern, but in my mind is also shaped from the relationship she had with my grandmother; in the blonde hair of my cousins, which (along with cousin Jenny and I) were the only cousins to obtain that gene, but it is undeniable Yoder – through and through.
I love being here, even though, after all this traveling, I'll be happy to head home tomorrow. But this old farm house and land is breath taking to me. Every time I'm in a place like this – so organic in more ways than just the food on the table but in the authentic lives of those surrounding hat same table – I cannot help but feel at home. Or that at least some deep, lyrical part of my soul is being care of in a way that nothing else quite can. It makes me want to read Wendell Berry and buy a chicken. (That first thing is more doable then the second. Well, maybe I could claim a chicken as a pet in our neighborhood).
Regardless, I am sure I'm just being a romantic and dreaming too much about country living enough for me to be so far removed from the reality of it that I may someday end up buying some land, attempting to garden (despite my utter hatred of weeding) and realize just how much hard work I got myself into. Still, it sounds wonderful. And those pretty little jars – the glowing orange of the peach jam – winks at me every time I look at it and I quickly forget hours of peeling and chopping and stirring (even though I am still left with slivers of peach peels caught behind my fingernails).
I felt this in Mthatha (South Africa) too when we were there at Joe and Anna Schwatzky's house (even though they don't live on a farm). They do have a healthy garden and easy access to produce and seem to make everything from scratch in that loving, holistic way.
I am determined to make this my life – to own property, rather build an eco-friendly house and live with the land. And to write of course. And maybe get a fat cat and a few chickens.
Nate and CB have chickens, some of which they inherited from a couple who gave their children baby chicks at Easter. When they started to lose their "cuteness," they came here. "The mutations" is what Uncle Nate referred to them as. After they arrived on the farm, the family soon discovered what they were – genetically modified chickens. After a few weeks, they grew fat, too fat – thick and top heavy, their breast modified to be plump for butchering. But here, these alien creatures waddle in the yard with the natural chickens as these white divas plod around like proud African mamas, hips and all, slowly wading through the heat. They're weird looking, but you can't help but love them and their new lease on life despite their genetic makeup that has destroyed their chemical balance and has made them, quite literally, bird brains. (I've heard that those butterball turkeys we all eat on Thanksgiving are actually so dumb because of the GM work done to them, they actually can drown by looking up at the rain!) But I'm no "country-folk." I got out of the way as soon as I saw one of those GM mamas head towards my feel, probably mistaking my pink toenail polish for a wild strawberry.
I don't know the first thing about living on land or even owning a chicken, but that was my experience there and a reflection of my deep desire to know exactly where my food comes from, to literally see it growing before my eyes. It's harder to do here. We don't own any chickens, but it's exciting nevertheless.