The Source

I am finally ordering some raw wool. I’ve worked with it before, under Andrea’s direction. I am more and more drawn to working from the source. There’s something particularly wonderful about working from scratch. If I spin the wool and crochet it, or felt it, or boil it, I’m sure the final product is going to gain history and depth.

I feel the same way about food. I was well aware of it while preparing an epic dinner tonight. I made a pulled chicken with a broccoli slaw, roasted beet salad, corn on the cob and mashed potatoes. Orion was in the kitchen looking for something to do so I asked him to shuck the corn. It occurred to me that he has never prepared any vegetable at all. He didn’t know how to peel the potatoes. I remembered how I used to trim beans, peel the carrots or shell peas. I guess we’ve become so used to buying pre-pared vegetables that it’s rare to prepare them ourselves. They come neatly packaged, peeled and diced in a family size bag. The untouched vegetable straight from the farm isn’t even available at our regular grocery store.

Maybe that’s why I recently changed stores. It’s a much farther drive from the house and it’s located in a transitional neighborhood. They offer all kinds of ethnic fare and tremendous produce. This week I bought fresh guavas and quince, leeks and loose beets, corn and fennel. Our small refrigerator was crammed with all these fresh vegetables in their natural form and I filled the wicker baskets with the roots. My bill was 1/3 less than our regular store. It also requires a lot more interaction with the food. I know it’s not a fancy store, in fact it’s pretty ghetto, but I think there’s something missing in the higher-end American experience.

I know that for some people food has seemed to take on the less than ideal American ideal that you should pay someone to do life’s menial tasks so you can use your time for something more profitable. The cubed butternut-in-a-bag is certainly a watered down version of the T.V. dinner but it’s still contributing to us losing touch with life. The vegetables are just the tip of the iceberg. We are completely removed from the source of all the real necessities of our lives- from food, to clothing to shelter, and we’re even farther away from our perceived necessities. I don’t know anyone who can and does keep their car running smoothly or exists without electronic technology. All of these skills and chores have been turned over to industry leaving us with the endless pursuit of success. Money. Beauty. Free time. None of which exists past the grave. We’re missing the whole point of life. How often does anyone share the sound of footsteps on pine needles or the feel of a mellow breeze? It’s only the hurricanes and floods that are cause for discussion.

I am really looking forward to my raw wool. It’s not as complete an experience as raising my own sheep, but maybe that can come later. It’s a step towards engaging the source.

P.S. I can’t help but share how beautifully this handspun merino is taking shape…

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