Another part of what made the morning so great was the drive over there and back. My coworkers Elisa and Kelly are both full of personality, and when they're together they sort of feed off each other in this hilarious dialogue that makes hanging out with them really fun.
We stopped for coffee on the way back. I bought lunch there because their special sounded so delicious: quinoa goat cheese patties with red pepper dressing, and a side of steamed veggies that included broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green beans, kale, carrot, onion, and mushroom. SO GOOD. I actually had two lunches, because I brought a lunch too. They were both delicious. My homemade lunch was a hummus wrap with fresh green pepper, halved cherry tomatoes, thick slices of avocado, and baby spinach leaves. Most of which was from the market, of course.
I also ate a pear I had bought at the grocery store. It's weird because I never would have experienced this before this summer, but I actually felt a twinge of guilt for eating that pear. Working at a farmers market has made me more aware than ever about the importance and impact of eating local. And the ease of it, too. There is so much delicious locally grown fruit I have such easy access to. But my spoiled American sense of entitlement tells me I can eat whatever fruit I want, even if that means buying a pear shipped from Washington. That's 2,500 food miles! Instead I could eat a peach from Chilton County, Alabama— less than 200 miles away.
It's easy to commit to choosing local when I have the options of a peach from California and a peach from Alabama (this is from the perspective of someone in Louisiana, of course). But it's a little more of a sacrifice to say that I will only buy local produce. That would mean no apples in the summer. No oranges in the winter. And no bananas ever! (although CCFM is currently working on getting bananas grown in Louisiana).
I don't know that I could do the Eat Local Challenge for more than a month. I'm so accustomed to the spectacular variety of food available to me in grocery stores, that it's hard to consciously limit myself in that way. But I do want to always keep in mind the environmental and social impacts of the food I choose to purchase and eat. Small steps really make a difference. At least for now, I'm committing to maximizing the local produce I eat, and minimizing the fruits and vegetables that are grown needlessly far away.
Here's a good summary of why eating local is so important to me: http://www.crescentcityfarmersmarket.org/index.php?page=why-buy-local
Anyway, my afternoon was nice too. I felt busy in the office, which I was really grateful for. I typed in email addresses and compiled packets like a pro.
Later in the evening, I went running just as the sun was setting. It was one of the highlights of my day. Running is one of those things that makes me feel so ALIVE. When I'm running I feel strong and independent and so in control. It's one of my absolute favorite things to do. And it makes me so present, so connected to my body and my surroundings and my thoughts. I was pounding down those streetcar tracks, Kelly rocking out in my ears, and I actually got chills thinking about how lucky I am to be here right now. There are so many people that I could (should!) give credit to, like Julian Robertson for paying for it and Emery Van Hook for choosing to hire me and my dad for investing in me and guiding me for the past nineteen years. I usually like running long and slow but in that moment I just wanted to sprint. Like I could sprint into this city, into this job, into this summer, not just soak it in because that's too passive but grip it in my hands and sprint not through it but into it.
I had a lovely conversation with my friend Brenna, who's spending the summer in Atlanta, that made me think a little more about that. Brenna is an introvert who loves solitude, is rejuvenated by spending time alone, and we talked about the importance of finding space for that. Sometimes life is about the balance between "sprinting into life" (copyright Caroline Leland 2012) and "be still and know" (Psalm 46:10). Carpe diem doesn't always mean jumping out of bed and going out. Sometimes carpe diem is resting, slowing down, reading a book for pleasure, taking time to put thought into your blog post. I guess when I say "sprinting" I don't necessarily mean running at full speed ahead. I mean living actively, deliberately. Being aware. Knowing how you're spending your time and what values your actions are reflecting. That's carpe diem. That's what living fully means to me. That's what I seek.
And I think that ties back into my eating local thing, too. It's all about being aware, deciding what's important to you and acting on it. See, life does make sense sometimes. My stream-of-consciousness blog post narrative has a theme and I didn't even plan it.