food, farming, friends and family: a meditation on chosen simplicity and (in)voluntary complications – life.

So I ended my last post with a few smoldering questions, and – I’ll save the suspense – no answers yet. No, the questions continue to breed like rabbits (tis the season, afterall) while answers seem to have been poached into endangerment by those lucky enough to have found them. If this sounds like melodrama, well … it is. And it’s life too; life’s filled with questions, including some pretty essential ones: Why am I here? What is my purpose? Big questions that humankind – especially those who have the time and inclination for pondering (guilty as charged) – seems to be continuously trying to answer.

I’m starting to think that my reasons and my answers are simple, may or may not have some spiritual undertones, and really aren’t even human-specific (I often find myself thinking that there’s no reason to distinguish human purpose from any other living thing – a humbling idea, but a walk through the Redwoods gave it some weight) : Live simply – in peace and truth – and nourish something (be it a cause, a community, a child or the earth). It resonates with me, though it also certainly brings with it at least one big question: Well how? Where do things like facebook, train rides, family visits, laundry days, sex, marathons and money fit into that plan?

Well I told you I didn’t have the answers …

But I am learning to find joy (or at least some comic relief) in more of the questions. Like when Harvey, an older gentleman that I do landscaping work for, asks me if I wouldn’t mind tying up any daffodils that I see with a slight lean to them. (We humans are crazy!)

Or when my mom asks with an obvious smile to her voice if I received the Easter package she sent (filled with all kinds of chocolate bars and the sweetest of homemade cards).

Possibly my favorite question as of late came when I was substitute teaching for a 7th grade science class (the subject for the day: Reproduction – Thanks, Mr. Maxwell!). It was pretty non-threatening sex stuff, starting with single-cellular reproduction, but the kids were still grossed out. And then towards the end of class a boy asks me: “Miss D, so a single cell can keep dividing and dividing and dividing … but where did the very first cell come from?”

Origin of life questions from an 11-year-old. Think fast, Miss D.

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately for my substitute teaching career), I had to defer that question to his family (hell, friends, priest, bus driver, anyone but me). But it was amazing to see him start pondering life’s questions. There’s more where that came from.

Just you wait, kid.

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