We just returned home from a bike ride around our neighborhood, with a stop at the Logan Square Farmers Market, where we procured the most perfect, beautiful smelling cantalopue from one of our favorite vendors, Geneva Lake Produce, and it was really a delightful time, except that I can't help but long for a place to ride my bike without anxiously checking behind me for speeding cars, weaving around enormous potholes and smashed rats, and praying I don't get doored.
I went to an acupuncturist recently who suggested that perhaps my state of constant alertness may have served me well centuries ago but that modern life and the cacophony of the city is perhaps, to put it mildly, a little too much for my already heightened level of awareness.
Do any other city dwellers feel this way? It seems people are happily marching in and out of the trains (which my claustrophobia nearly prohibits me from taking!), going to work in tiny offices in tall buildings, standing in long lines for Sunday brunch, seemingly unaffected by the constant buzz and the absurdity of it all.
Perhaps, too, I want only what I don't have and the grass will perennially be greener wherever I am not, but I think or at least sincerely hope that this is not the case. I believe it's possible to find a place in which one feels a sense of belonging, and that it is one's duty to oneself to meet this challenge.
Meanwhile, I'm preparing for this idyllic place I have in my mind, where I can ride a bike like this with my kids someday without fearing for our lives, through extensive research and trying out the methods I hope one day to hone. This place I envisage is about a 10 acre farmette with wild and farmed flowers, an organic vegetable patch, some farm animals and, in the perfect dream, this.
At the end of August, we'll take a trip to Wisconsin for a permaculture convergence and also visit the farm my friend and her husband recently purchased in Southeastern Wisconsin. I'm excited to see her property and find out what interesting things they intend to grow and keep, and also see what struggles they encounter as former city dwellers turned rural residents.
Though I'm more than aware this lifestyle takes so much hard work and dedication (my other farmer friend had to even plan what month they could try to get pregnant around the work required of each season), there also seems to be such a satisfaction in producing one's own daily needs without being dependent on a store. I had sort of an existential nausea while grocery shopping today, where we ended up buying organic milk at $7.39 and a small tub of yogurt for $6.99! With such rising costs on everyday goods, it seems more important than ever to develop the skills to produce these items at home, or purchase them as close to their source as possible. We talk about either having our own cow or doing a cow share, where you share access to a cow with neighbors and all take turns milking, which produces more than enough milk for drinking, yogurt or cheese production for a small family. Alternatively, just the option of being able to buy the milk from the farmer himself is perhaps appealing enough.
For now, though, we must content ourselves to grow our little garden and cook our own food and think and plan.
I find that I get the most joy of anything in my day (besides Dan!) from our garden, from tending to it and watching it grow. I'm especially proud of the lavender, which I started indoors back in March and is now just beginning to form flowers, though they are green still.
We also strung up some clothesline for drying our clothes, in an attempt to save a little bit of money and be a little greener. Also it seems very European on our balcony, with the ivy-covered coach house in the background.
And just for fun, this song keeps running through my mind and I thought it fitting to include.