A Modern Day Pièce de Résistance
I have been dreaming of seeds. In one dream in particular, I am somewhere on I-5 between San Diego and Los Angeles and the apocalypse is unfolding around me. Large wind turbines that look like metallic Rubik’s cubes shifting quickly, the cubes alternating turns, to capture the energy of the black tornadoes of pollution swirling from sky to sea on one side of the car and from sky to land on the other side of the car. I am in my car and I am headed to pickup packets of seeds I have been saving to build a garden. I woke up from this dream with a strange calm, knowing the meaning was centered on moving through the messes we make to build and grow something beautiful that sustains. And knowing I better listen because my purpose is intertwined with this dream state. A few nights later, I dreamt of purple aubergines growing in my garden. I was picking them and excited to host a dinner of charred purple and pickled herbs, fresh goat cheese melting atop from a local farm. A prophecy coming to pass.
I have always been a pretty vivid dreamer at night and during the day. I believe in the deeper meanings of dreams because I think maybe portions of our brains or maybe our unconscious minds awaken and spark a little more when our awake selves are not interfering. I have a similar respect for déjà vu, the jarring feeling of having already lived what you are experiencing in the present. Three years ago, I stood in the streets of Gigondas right by a little café having felt as if I had already stepped on the stone path beneath my feet. I felt as if I was truly in the right place at the right time and this feeling of déjà vu was showing me the most human piece of myself. As if the coding on my DNA was speaking to me. A day or two around that, not far in a château’s garden, I experienced a wave of it again. I was pushing around my infant son in a stroller, praying that his little teeth would quit aching and he might fall asleep in this beautiful garden. And he did. This was a picture-worthy potager and it made me feel truly human. This is what I am supposed to be doing. Tending, growing, nourishing and doing it with my family. Right place, right time. The awkwardly formed peg finally found the right hole. Two accounts of déjà vu in the south of France, both centered around the idea of serving or growing food, making me feel that calming wave of being exactly at the right place at the right time. My déjà vu coupled with my dreams and the things that light me up on the inside make me feel as if there is room for true thriving on this Earth. To flourish and not simply limp along beside broken systems put in place by our culture.
In many ways, I think the world is squeaking by on survival. I can feel it. We have, by all accounts, evolved to a state where we have created some wonderful, modern tools. And yet, I feel that on the most fundamental human level, we are in survival mode having not evolved very much at all. Disconnection is epidemic. Kindness, a scarce commodity. Truth, a blurry vessel lost at sea. Inclusivity, stammering in a forest of condescension and overlording, power-hungry beasts. Care for this beautiful Earth, our greatest asset apart from each other, is simply just that: an asset to a few who use the land for their own benefit. Self-gain over selflessness. We are in an plague where “whole mind, whole body” wellness is lost. Our food system is broken and I believe we are seeing its degradation. We are in need of connection to each other and our earth. And I think a great way to regain this lost world is at the dinner table.
My dreams have spurred action and I am feeling the exciting urgency of responsibility. A responsibility to use my life to grow. To take my dreams and the waves of familiarity and use it in real time to grow food, create dishes, and most important to nourish others. To create sustainability in my own little sphere. To teach as I learn. To see these dreams come to pass and accept the responsibility I am being given. In the midst of the mess, we can all create and grow something beautiful for the benefit of others and the benefit of ourselves. One thing I personally believe is that the future of food and health is in our yards.
It’s in these little corners of the Earth where we have created a monoculture of grass for our visual pleasure, reaping no other satisfaction or benefit for our bodies and lives other than “looking acceptable.” I think it’s time to start the yard revolution. A revolution of growing diverse cultures of food for our families and sharing with our loved ones. A revolution of eating less. A revolution that starts small and grows as it is allowed. Revolutions start small, but even a small start can create a ripple.
Below are three bowls I put together to move in a better direction for myself, for the Earth, for whole body, whole mind, whole Earth nourishment. It’s a step and I’m not going to be perfect nor do I plan on being extreme. Rather, just taking baby steps, Bob! Source local, eat less, learn as you go. Little ripples.