Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Living off the land

I am making two posts today, so if you visit once a day you should check down and make sure you don't miss one.

My trip up north over the last week was a look at a completely different lifestyle than I have here in Toronto.  I am used to a complete change of pace and style but Elli is only just getting used to how different things are for her parents and her grandparents.  The thing that really struck me was how close my family lives to their food source compared to myself.  I get everything from the grocery store on one of the busier corners in Toronto and they grow a lot of their own food and see meals created largely from things they picked just hours before.

Catching a pickerel and a bass in the river beside the house, picking blueberries and making a pie and digging up hills of potatoes and carrots for supper are the norm during the summer for much of my family.  Elli got to experience this first hand, right from helping to reel in the fish to carrying the fresh vegetables into the kitchen and she seemed very excited by it all.  I got to see this style of living for my first 18 years so it feels natural, if very different from how I live now, but I wonder what the effects are of seeing this sort of thing for the first time.  I suspect that many city kids would benefit from understanding exactly what growing food looks like and what sort of effort is required to grow it.  It would certainly expand their horizons even if they never embraced it.

It is a tricky sort of thing for me to compare country and city living.  I like having no car and I like having a fast internet connection (I will never live without that again!) but there is an undeniable pleasure in eating incredibly fresh food, especially berries directly off the bush.  Having a river directly beside your house is certainly an enviable luxury but I think it is like a balcony in that it is a wonderful thing to talk about and a great selling point but you just don't use it as much as you think you will.  I also wonder how much of the joy of eating your own food is just novelty; I know that when I was young I didn't mind overly much going to the garden to get food but it felt a lot more like work and a lot less like vacation since it was how things always were.

I suppose this is probably like everything else in that the grass is always greener.  City people get a huge kick out of living close to their food source and bumming around in nature and country people get excited by the unlimited shopping opportunities and immense busyness of the big city but mostly people want to get a quick experience and then go home.  We all get passionate about how things could be and the experiences we could have if things were different but as soon as we have those things they soon become part of the background.  Elli would probably continue to be excited about picking food herself for a few weeks and then eventually regard it as an annoying chore, so perhaps just a small taste is the best dose in the end.

No comments:

Post a Comment