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Make Bread. Plant Beets.

Posted Oct 01 2008 4:26pm

Make bread.

Plant beets.

Repeat.

It's as simple as that.

And deep inside, in the very core of my being where human instinct lives, I somehow think that if I make enough bread and plant enough beets, all will be well. The world may go to hell in a handbasket, but I will have bread. And I will have beets. Enough for my family. Enough to share. Enough.

And so I drag my red bucket of kitchen water, which I catch while heating up water to bring the yeast to life that I use to bake the bread, outside. I soak the seedlings that I transplant each day in neat little rows tucked beside the straggly, still-stretching-for-the-sky tomato plants and rambling mint and what is that, butternut squashes I see, their hourglass shapes filling out a bit more with each sun rise and set?

The first red leaves of autumn fall on the golden hay of the paths that twist and turn around my vegetable beds. The sun's striations spread their fingers through the deep brown seed heads of the towering sorghum stalks and the rounded, hand-like leaves of the fig tree and the brilliant color-bursts of amaranth and endless sprays of zinnias and the eggplants heavy with fruit again.

I can smell the soil, rich and dark and teaming with life. The soft lawn is moist beneath my feet and the fragrant evergreen juniper bushes, trimmed to make a path, leave their essence on me as I brush by them on my way to the hammock, a book that I never end up reading in my arms. Instead, I lie there and gaze up at the trees that I planted as saplings ten years ago with hopes of one day hanging a hammock.

And I hear the laughter of neighbor children and the distant hum of yet another lawn mower.

And I see a red-tailed hawk circling above, looking for prey.

And I smell the challah bread, made with eggs from chickens I know and kneaded and braided with my own hands, through my open kitchen window not too far away.

And I somehow know, intuitively, that as long as I keep my hands involved in that bread and in that soil, everything will be okay. For today.
Nurturing sustainability close to home and around the world. (And other food for thought!)

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