Reader Marysienka responds to my last post;
"Right on! Not a whole lot I can do right now, with a tiny studio apt in the city
and no soil, nor any kids to share it with, but I heartily agree, Tim."
Well, Marysienka, don't feel bad... I'm preaching to myself more than to anyone else. Anyone who had a chance to actaully follow me around for a while would without a doubt write me off as a hypocritical crank and a poser within a few hours... ("Note to self; delete Old World Swine from Google Reader...").
We, unfortunately, have terrible soil here at our present place and we'll likely be moving soon, anyway, so as of right now, starting a garden is out.
It can take me a while to ramp up some of the projects I get into, as my wife will readily attest (with a roll of the eyes). I bought some bread makings a few weeks ago, but have been so occupied with getting the house ready to sell that I haven't used them yet. I'm also not brewing like I'd hoped, but I feel another batch coming on.
The thing is, I think, to always have an eye out for how we can do more of these kinds of things, even if progress seems achingly slow. Not out of some sense of obligation (oh, not another duty, please), or because some Secret Bible Prophecy nutjob just knows the worldwide economy is about to totally collapse... but because these are the kinds of things we really seem to be made to do. I'm not much qualified to pontificate on any subject, but I can venture to say, based on my own experience, that I don't think man was much designed to scrabble out a living sitting in a fluorescently-lit cubicle eight or ten hours a day, with an hour or two commute, to boot.
It's not so much that people weren't designed with the cubicle in mind (though that is certainly true), but even more so that the cubicle wasn't designed with people in mind... and everything designed and made by human beings ought to be designed to enhance human life. Have you ever noticed how much cubical office clusters resemble those mouse mazes that scientists use in behavioral experiments?
The point, if there is one, is that there is really no single reason (and no logical reason at all) for anyone to brew their own beer, or to bake their own bread, or to raise their own vegetables or livestock. It can all be done more efficently in the factory, or the factory farm.
There is also no logical reason to paint pictures or write poetry or make music.
We in the West have allowed efficency to dictate nearly everything in the last hundred years, have let it pierce into places where it has no business, like the people I know who complain if the Mass runs over an hour.
There was an old joke (I don't even remember where I heard it) about watching lovers in Paris, and how you could always tell the Americans because the man would keep looking at his watch. I'm not saying it's true, only that there is something very true about it.