It's coming from the sorrow in the street,
the holy places where the races meet;
from the homicidal bitchin'
that goes down in every kitchen
to determine who will serve and who will eat.
—Democracy, by Leonard Cohen
I arrived here when nature rained me out of my home in the heart of the city.
I’d only one reason to leave my comfortable cave after sixteen years of settling in and it didn’t stand a chance of my acting on it, what with my proximity to the headquarters of Whole Foods a block away.
When my wife left, I realized I had never fed myself — from mother’s mammon to military mess to campus cafeteria to married meals I’d always been served. Since rejoining the single way of life thirty-three years ago I’ve evolved an organic understanding of my body’s urge for and reaction to what I feed it. I learned to enjoy preparing healthy food from its life reaffirming spirit to the very physical benefits of satisfying my urges in the most beneficial way.
I began cooking for my friends out of a kitchen in our favorite hangout, the Hole in the Wall. The bean counter practicality of quantity over quality eventually reined me in and drove me out by requiring that I serve industrial food. I left with valuable experience of life in the service lane from both the server and the served perspectives as a metaphor for what keeps mankind on the treadmill of this ruinously ravenous experiment that is western civilization.
An unusual spate of rain softened soil around the roots and soaked the leaves of the hackberry that had grown out from under my house beyond the tipping point of its angled trunk. The roots popped the wall and floor beams next door as it crept to final rest across the street over several cars of patrons dining at the restaurant up the block. When the city came out to clear the road they also noticed how out of code the turn of the century building was and notified the owner to comply. The business from patron parking outweighed the rent the restaurant collected on the space, and once again, the bean counters disrupted a groovy gig.
Here is where I have learned to complete that cycle of feeding myself by inserting myself into the natural chain of life as a planter and feeder of the food I eat and pass on. My broccoli is built of the compost of last year’s garden and leaf fall and my eggs are built of the insect protein literally littering this eight-acre spot on the bank of the Colorado. I have yet to do well enough to avoid trips to the grocery store but I have learned enough to know I could with more incentive. My carbon footprint is a bus trip to town and back, pollution of processing and transporting what products I buy and my electricity bill. I have worked out plans for a solar driven tipi and will be working on that for the rest of the foreseeable future.
The only other axe I was grinding, my disastrous relationship with the daughter who’d not been in any of my homes since she was four, disappeared like a bad dream when we hugged each other standing by Ella Falls and Piddle Pond last month.