My grandfather, not one given to understatement, frequently declared many modern-day foods to be “poison” and dismissed them with a wave of his hand. Among the offenders? Margarine (“anything that doesn’t freeze at freezing temperatures isn’t right…”). Pam cooking spray (“work of the devil!”). Whipped cream in an aerosol (“Unnatural!”).
I can only imagine his response to today’s offerings.
It’s not that my mind isn’t teeming with important thoughts. It is. I read literature. I watch documentaries. I bandy about intellectual ideas with my Ph.D.-waving friends.
But that doesn’t seem to stop my mind from obsessing about the little things.
For example, just this morning I was picking up a few things at the market. I noticed a bottle – from an eco-conscious company – of fruit and veggie wash.
The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are. —Joseph Campbell
Just be yourself. —Mom
Advice like this always baffled me. Who was I being if not myself? After all, what choice did I have? All the good personalities – Joan of Arc, Jane Austen, Wonder Woman – were already gone. I was stuck being me, like it or not.
Karen, my yoga instructor, doesn’t claim to offer answers. Actually, she’s more of an “ask a question” type of instructor, consistently encouraging each of us to look within for wisdom.
Composting with worms? Bring it on. Leaving the car and taking my bike? My pleasure. Eating hormone-free, antibiotic-less, locally-raised meat? Yum, yum.
But forsake fashion? Toss my trend-addiction? Lighten my carbon footprint by giving up shoes? I’d sooner give up exhaling.
I am not old — at least not by most people’s standards.
Though my 6-year-old recently commented, as I huffed and puffed my way uphill on bicycle, that I’m “very, very old.” At 6, anything beyond 30 is positively geriatric. And I am well past 30.
I know exactly what my grandmother would say. With all the sturm-und-drang about swine flu vaccinations, she would scoff and mutter, “What they need is a good mustard poultice.”
A mustard poultice could cure anything — from “women’s problems” to a stuffy nose.
Being green isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Sure, I’m healthier now that I eat better food and reduce my exposure to pesticides. I ride my bike, which makes me not only healthier but happier. I’m wealthier now that I make much of my own cleaning products, use less gas, cold-wash and hang-dry my clothes, and eschew AC for open windows.
Yellowstone National Park, of which I’m a huge fan, recently launched a really exciting venture. Its Mammoth Hot Springs General Store has been re-created as an interpretive center to educate the public about climate change and the implications of consumer purchases, recycling, conservation and more. The store’s products are identified accordingly as fair trade, organic, renewable, locally-made and so on. Consumers can then make their choice based on a true understanding of the product’s value.
Perhaps stillness comes naturally to some people. I, however, am not one.