dweller by the river

sojourner of earth attempting to understand the journey home

Category: Other Flora

Post-Trip Musings

The husband and I recently tagged along with friends on a trip to Bangkok, Thailand. Being the sort of people we are, we spent most of our time in the outskirts of the city, in plant markets, at plant fairs and at farms. Not for us the mad shopping and boisterous crowds of the city centre.

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True to form, I failed to take any photographs of ourselves or our friends. My point-and-shoot camera’s SD card is full of pictures of plants, and occasional images of food. Oh, and I discovered that I really like (certain types of) succulents. Maybe they will start to show up on this blog in time. I don’t know yet. Haha.

We didn’t miss home. Well, to be accurate, we missed our home, the apartment where we live, but we didn’t miss our home country, which is a city state. I for one was more relaxed out there among Thailand’s open expanses; on the few occasions that we found ourselves braving traffic (both vehicular and human) in an urban area, we were jittery and bad-tempered (me in particular). And it wasn’t five minutes after our plane touched down back on home ground that both our friends and us started to get irritated by the people and things around us.

Before I left on this trip I had been entertaining thoughts of coming back with wonderful revelations about life and spirituality, and I had expected to sit down upon my return and pen something insightful and thoughtful. In reality, I’m just tired; I miss my time away, and I feel more hemmed in and agitated than ever by the general lack of greenery and fresh air. I felt oppressed and stuck in the office, and am twitchy among crowds.

It’s just like both times I came back from Hawai’i—some time is probably needed before whatever I really learned or gained from the trip comes up to the surface of my consciousness. I’m just wondering for the umpteenth time whether E and I really, really need to seriously consider moving. I guess time will tell? …or will it just show that we were too afraid to take risks?

Moonlight Prayer

image

“It’s beautiful.

“Will I one day get to see it up close in person?

“You know, I’ve always found it so much easier to talk to You when I’m surrounded by stuff that You’ve made, instead of stuff that we’ve made. You know what I mean, don’t You?

“It’s like, when someone has gotten married and is moving house, but they’re still walking around in their old house and letting the old things and old sounds and old smells and old atmosphere and old thoughts and old feelings permeate them… and suddenly it feels hard to believe or imagine that they’re married and no longer live here.

“Being stuck here on this physical plane is a bit like that, cos I know what’s real is where You are, in another dimension.

“Being stuck in a job where there’s nothing but concrete and metal and dead trees everywhere around me, in an office where the air itself seems to suffocate small plants to death, is MUCH worse. Cos there are nearly no reminders of You anywhere at all.

“It’s not that I don’t want to talk to You more. I just need… help, sometimes. Thanks for this one. I needed a reminder of how small I am and how huge You are. And it’s beautiful, which is a real bonus.

“Thanks again for the plants. Sometimes I egotistically think You must have created them all those millenia ago just with me in mind – the silly 21st century plant-lover whose every soil-based attempt is a disaster. Heh.

“Leave me this little conceit for tonight; You came down here and suffered the bounds of gravity and fragile skin, what’s it to You if I… oh, never mind.

“Thanks, anyhow. I guess You allowed me to forget to put my keys back into my bag (right now I can’t even remember when or where I last saw them, actually, which is absurd) so that I would have to sit down and write this. It’s good, I think.

“Thanks.”

Dramatic Irony Indeed

http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/joel-salatin-interview.aspx?PageId=1#axzz38NAKdN57

 An extract:

“I think it’s amazing that in a country which promotes the freedom to own firearms, freedom to worship and freedom of speech, we don’t have the freedom to choose our own food. If I can’t choose the proper fuel to feed my body, I won’t have energy to go shoot, preach and pray anyway. Half the alleged food in the supermarket is really dangerous to your health. In fact, if we removed all the food items in the supermarket that would not have been available before 1900, the shelves would be bare. Gone would be all the unpronounceable gobbledy-syllabic industrial additives, irradiated, GMO, cloned pseudo-food.

The reason this issue is hard to articulate is because most people don’t realize what’s not on the shelves, or in their diet. We’re fast losing the memory of heritage food, as in made from scratch, in the home kitchen, with culture-wide generic culinary wisdom. I remember when every mom knew how to cut up a chicken. Now, most people don’t know a chicken has bones. As the food police have demonized and criminalized neighbor-to-neighbor food commerce, the food system has become enslaved by the industrial food fraternity. And just around the corner is the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) coming on strong, under the guise of food safety and biosecurity, which will annihilate thousands of non-industrial farms. We don’t need programs; we need freedom. If we really had freedom, farmers like me would run circles around the corporate-welfare, food adulterated, land-abusing industrial farms.”

Joel Salatin VS James McWilliams…

…on “the myth of sustainable meat”. This might not seem immediately relevant to a blog that focuses mainly on plants, but you’ll understand once you read it.

http://grist.org/sustainable-farming/farmer-responds-to-the-new-york-times-re-sustainable-meat/

Why Have I Never Heard of Joel Salatin Before Today?

http://www.treehugger.com/green-food/joel-salatin-americas-most-influential-farmer-talks-big-organic-and-the-future-of-food.html

An extract:

“The food industry views everything through the skewed paradigm of faith in human cleverness rather than dependence on nature’s design. the difference is expressed in many ways, from parts to wholes, from manipulative dominion to nurturing, from worshiping techno-glitzy to honoring wise traditions and indigenous knowledge. But this hubris seems to relish the fact that we can irradiate food to sterilize poop, rather than slowing the processing down enough that we can wash the poop off before it gets in the food.

Which opens up the next big problem: safe food. And this runs the gamut from nutrition to outright danger. The food industry actually believes that feeding your children Twinkies, Cocoa Puffs and Mountain Dew is safe, but drinking raw milk and eating compost-grown tomatoes is dangerous. The industrial food system depends on dredging up horror stories from the early 1900s as food was just industrializing and rural electrification, stainless steel, and sanitation understanding were not available to continue demonizing, marginalizing, and criminalizing back-to-heritage foods in the modern day. Using its political clout, industrial food is waging war on local, nutrient dense foods as surely as the U.S. Cavalry hunted down native Americans earlier in our culture’s history. A people, who by the way, only wanted to be left alone and who were routinely labeled barbarians and worse from the earliest days of our country.

Which brings me to the final point: disrespect of the inherent uniqueness of the living world. Industrial food never asks whether the pig is happy. the pig-ness of the pig never enters the conversation. It’s all about fatter, faster, bigger, cheaper. And a culture that views its life from such an arrogant, manipulative, disrespectful hubris, will view its own citizenry the same way–and other cultures. We cannot return to traditional nutrient density until we respect soil microflora and pigs for what they are and do in the system. Bringing this level of respect to the table is the foundation for a moral and ethical society. The industrial food system perhaps more fully than any other aspect of our culture expresses unabashed greedy pride.”