Thursday, October 30, 2008

Yoga in the Harvest Season...

Yoga in the harvest season involves a lot of forward-bends, crouching poses, climbing-tree poses... Sun salutation? Earth salutation! I wake and hit the ground running..., but not running - plodding. Today I began with kneading bread from the sourdough started last night. Then into the garden it is - digging the pitchfork deep to uproot the parsnips, which finally got enough frost (ie, the ground froze for a few days!) to sweeten... Clip the tops off and offer them back to the garden bed as mulch, compost... Parsnips rinsed, I set to harvesting culinary sage - perhaps a little late, but it's still strong and healthy, and a bit of sage tea thru the winter?...yum! Sprigs of sage now rest on my bedroom windowsills - the warmest spot in the house, during the day - I look forward to waking up to sage-fragranced sundrenched air...

This blog post was inspired when I didn't do yoga this morning, but opted instead to commune with the earth - to do the tasks that anyone who wanted to survive merely 100 winters ago would have needed to complete in this time.

It's time to harvest the last of this summer's kale plants also - they won't grow any more with the lack of light over the garden bed. Washing off the frost-hardy aphids, I then blanch the leaves briefly and into the freezer bags they go. There are a few young kale plants left in the bed, but they should be transplanted to a sunnier spot if I wish for a winter crop...

Yesterday I picked up a large quantity of vegetables from my "keeper share" at Abbondanza - the farm I frequent (and lately have begun to volunteer at). Many of the veggies are "keepers" - meant for storing and using thru the winter (potatoes, winter squash, dried beans...). Others are simply hardy enough to still be growing at this point (kale, celery, beets, carrots...). I like to think: if I wasn't getting food shipped to me from California and New Zealand and Mexico thru the winter, what would I eat?! With no disrespect to those locales, it doesn't feel sustainable to waste fossil fuels shipping water-heavy food in refrigerated trucks and airplanes... ...all so I can eat strawberries and broccoli out of season!

Will there come a time - and will it be soon? - when this kind of thinking will be the only choice? If/when the industrial agriculture falls, will it be because of financial instability, or lack of resources, or choice?... I am choosing in my life to disentangle myself as much as I can in any given day/month/year from the imported food culture. If I really choose to live the life of a high mountain desert dweller, what does that mean? What grows here, now?

So for this last month or two, much of my "yoga" practice - the practice of uniting spirit and body, self and God, inner and outer - has been about living in the present moment of the season of this earth. As I worked in the garden today, I expressed my gratitude to the soil for nurturing these little parsnip bodies, to the sunlight for awakening and drenching all growing things in its glory, for this little home and its little plot of land, for my mother's sourdough starter (and for her relentless counsel on the phone!). Nothing more than simple presence - with the earth, with the day, with the season, with my friends. Patient and persistent and content, I live this little earthly life. I did sit to meditate for awhile, as the sun was setting and my body could rest into the fullness it had lived today. I know there will be fallow winter months for long sessions of asana (yoga postures) and meditation. But today I live the yoga of the earth.

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