Once upon a time, I planted a garden. I was fascinated by the process -- prepare your soil, drop in seeds, water and weed, and viola, food and flowers for all.
How these seeds, dried and stored on shelves for months, once in the ground, release all the elements of life to sprout is a miracle. And lettuce amazed me most of all: teeny-tiny-little specks of seeds. Where do these come from? I’ve never seen a lettuce flower…
After I poured out my package of sunflower seeds, the amazement turned to alarm. These seeds were exactly the same sunflower seeds I buy for snacking – roasted and ready. And the paranoid urban dweller in me thought: someone knew I was coming and they thought it would be funny to switch out the seeds for the city girl: she’ll never know the difference.
My connection to the food I eat was so lost that I didn’t realize that the sunflower seeds that I eat are also the sunflower SEEDS that I would plant to create more sunflowers! Really!
Two days ago, I was at TAC (Textile Arts Center, awesome place). I'm learning to weave and I was for a new color to add to my work. As I was facing the yarn tree I couldn't help but see a pile of kids coats and winter wear. Immediate connection: those coats and mittens and scarves all generate from the yarns and threads on the tree. And those yarns and threads are sheared and spun from animals, on farms, living and breathing, tended to and cared for that that year-after-year they give us the gift of cloth.
Just like with food, my connection to what I wear was dismal. Where do my clothes come from? H&M, Target, Walmart, sale racks, cheap bins; clothes are so plentiful and inexpensive that we purchase gloves and hats and scarves like they are $3 umbrellas: use them until you loose them and don’t sweat it.
I like buying my onions and eggs at the farmer’s market. I like feeling connected to what I eat now. And now that it's The Year of the Goat (or sheep, or ram), it's a great time to start giving the same consideration to what I put on my body. (I'm also looking forward to getting to know the sheep and alpaca that I’m wearing on my head!)
Happy New Year!