Here in the woods of the Pacific NW, I'm surrounded by fascinating artisans and craftsmen who fish and crab and hunt for gooey ducks (what's that you say? yes, that's what I said also).
Many of my new friends and neighbors blow glass, bake bread and drink coffee like it's water. They built their homes from the trees on their land, they raise and sup from their chickens and their cows, and they wear sweaters to the beach in the summer time. In casual conversation, I often hear the genus and species of each plant, bird and bug that passes by. And nearly two years later, the culture shock remains. I oftentimes feel like a novice and tourist -- a stranger in a strange land.
I grew up in the suburbs of the High Plains. I was nearly twenty before I realized that grass comes from seeds rather than flatbed trucks topped with verdant carpets of sod. Blackberries, cherries and eggs came from the grocery store, sticks and stones came from Target and Michael's, and rainstorms lasted fifteen minutes tops.
Slowly, I am acclimating: learning the culture, talking the talk and walking the walk. This gait is quiet and slow; the movement, organic. I wear dreads and wool sweaters out of necessity, and there's just a whole lot more of me. I've traded my teakettle for a coffee pot, and I actually use a compost bin. At sea level, I really do feel closer and more connected to the Earth and its rhythms.
Shifting. I am shifting.
I'm surrounded by towering trees in this land of ever green, and I have more information -- other perspective. I am unable to be who I was, trying to be who I am without becoming lost in who I hope to become. Facts of the past are no longer so, and I'm still not sure what to do with that. Many things I once did I can no longer do and many things I never considered are common place now.
Yes, little by little, shifting.
I've been talking about it over ten years and writing about it for at least five, but something shifted indeed this Spring. I sowed seed, pulled weeds, let Seattle skies work their magic and voila!
My garden is little and laughable, and I'm unsure whether the peppers, the broccoli, the peas, the carrots, the onions, the beans... or anything else will take. Nevertheless, the spinach in our salad yesterday came from the earth beneath my own two feet. The harvest is slow and small, but it is.