Friday, April 8, 2011

Simple Pleasures

In elementary school we sang a Shaker song called "Simple Gifts." You may be familiar with it:

"Tis a gift to be simple, tis a gift to be free
tis a gift to come down where one ought to be"

Can't we learn something from that? People are so caught up with the dramas of everyday life that they've forgotten what we are, I'm afraid.

Take our government for example. They're so focused on balancing our non-"budget" that they are seemingly blind to the consequences their inaction will have on the buckling economic situation our country is in. Rising gas prices, shrinking food stores, growing unemployment, drug wars on our border, the Japan natural disaster, Libya, Egypt...we've got a world of mess. Now's definitely not the time for political posturing. I agree we need a government, I just feel it should be substantially smaller than it is now. And shut down for around half the year.

But aside from that, people are caught up in things that just aren't that important. I confess I do the same thing. I'm on Facebook way more than I should be. I play internet games and watch TV. We have to have some diversions as long as they're available. But people have literally forgotten how to stop and smell the roses. Pick an apple from a tree and taste it. I guarantee it'll taste different from a "fresh" one at a store.

No one appreciates where things come from any more. I was thinking about what I would do with the surplus of vegetables should I actually get to harvest the entire garden. I'd love to put up my own fresh ketchup, free of preservatives, corn syrup, high amounts of sodium. People wouldn't know what it was. We're so used to processed junk that we've forgotten what the food that comes from the earth is supposed to taste like.

I was looking into making my own vinegar. You know, vinegar only costs about 2.50 a gallon, about twice as much as 2 years ago. I thought, that'd be a nice cost savings to make my own and a little science experiment for the kids. Shouldn't be that hard. It takes 6-9 MONTHS!! And think how frivolously we use it and think nothing of it. What if you couldn't run to the store and just buy another bottle? Would you pour it and waste it as much knowing you couldn't replace it for nearly a year??

I'm not saying I don't want us to be civilized. I'm all for a civilized human race. But look where we've taken civility. Drugs, toxins, chemicals, pollution, genocide, politicians (yes I included them there lol).

But take a cheeseburger. McD's boasts billions served since it's founding. Think of all the cows that had to be raised, the wheat that had to be grown, bread dough kneaded and risen, onions grown (one onion takes 2-3 years from seed to 1 lb size!), tomatoes for ketchup, mustard seed for mustard, cucumbers for ketchup. One burger equals lots of jobs created but even more work taken for granted. What if you had to do all that work for your own burger? Would you eat it quite as fast? Think twice about gobbling down two? Maybe stop and think about it a little more?

I just wish people would appreciate the little things more. I remember working the fields during harvest time. After picking peas and beans all day there was nothing like reaching for a fresh cucumber from the vine. No matter how hot the weather that cucumber was always moist and refreshing inside. A good strong wind and a quick afternoon summer rain shower were always welcome after a hot morning. And I appreciated them. It was a simple gift. A simple pleasure.

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