I can't remember when I started my journey, I just know that I'm on it.
Food has been my vehicle of choice, and it's taken me to both amazing and horrible places, literally and metaphorically. Today I woke to the reassuring sound of rain falling on the tin roof of our old rented farm house. I've heard rain fall on many different roof's and this morning it was here, at the place I currently call home. It's not my place, someone else owns it. I don't have the money to afford my own place. The dream of buying my own land often nags at me somewhere in the back of my convoluted mind. I've made do with the situation. Years ago, when we first moved here I asked the landlord if we could fence off a small backyard size area to grow food.
Our request was granted (for an extra rental fee) and we have a small area fenced off where I grow a good amount of food for our families needs. I have the usual elements, a handful of vegetable beds, a hen house, some fruit trees and a poly tunnel (hot house). The idea is to grow and provide as much food as possible. An alternative to eating mass produced food, to reduce our food miles and to eat produce that's has been grown chemically free. This is a contrast to how I used to live, I've not always cooked with real food, instead I relied heavily on processed food. Eventually my body began to break down and didn't function as well as it used to. I had a long list of health problems because of my food choices, so I looked to the past for some answers and embraced a simpler 'peasant' style of living that's served communities of humans quite well for thousands of years.
This morning I stepped out in the mud of winter, I walked the isles of my backyard garden, picked some ingredients, fed my hens, planted some spring vegetables and went inside to cook. My life is sometimes very simple, other times it's as complicated as a Facebook relationship status. But it's real and it's very normal. I work a job, then when I'm not working I spend time cooking and working on food production, be that growing, hunting or searching for free wild food.
In the cold still air of the morning, I laid my ingredients out on the kitchen bench. I stared at them a while, sipping a hot cup of tea. Food has been the driving force, leading me to experiences and unexpected events. Staring at these inanimate objects may seem weird to some, but it's the food that sparked me to make change, to deliberatly move away from what was easy and comfortable towards something that is real, natural and honest. Food has challenged my entire belief and morality system that goes beyond a meal, it filters everything in life.
Food has taken me on an adventure of flavour, of new experiences and new skills. Food has taught me to be resourceful, practical and in it's very production has provided me with a sense of purpose and accomplishment that I'd never felt before. My food has taught me to think more, to ask more questions. It's taught me to be creative. It's given me a love of writing and taught me to improve how I communicate, notably to restrain the wild anger that burns inside me.
Life is one big journey, a cliche I'm happy to embrace. I started this journey with the intention of providing for my family and I've been taking many places in the process. My intention and purpose remains the same. I acknowledge that it's simple and thats the way I like to live, simple. My life used to be complicated, stressful and purposeless. These past few years I've achieved two things that make life enjoyable, clarity and a sense of contentment. My aim it to continue this lifestyle, but like all journeys, many paths present themselves along the way. Paths you never imagined in your wildest dreams that you'd be prepared to take.