S is for Sustenance – Pagan Blog Project 2013

So I wrote this last weekend, but am only getting around to posting it now.
Better late than never.


Perhaps unsurprisingly – this being Autumn Equinox weekend – I’ve picked “Sustenance” for this week’s (late) PBP13 post. I’ve spent the past week canning – mostly successfully, but not always[1] – and so have food, and food security, on the brain.
Sometimes I feel ridiculous about the amount of canning I do. Like someone is going to look at me like I have two heads if I – as a woman living in an urban area with a number of grocery stores[2] to choose from – am open about this business of making sure my girl and I have food over the winter.

It seems to strange to think like this, but I do.
I’m not sure if this is just some new variation on Scarcity Thinking[3], or if it’s a sign that I’m thinking of “availability” in a way that’s connected to how the seasons actually roll in my own area.
Maybe a little bit of both.
For a long time (like ten years for definite, and longer for maybe), I’ve thought of my religiosity as a “garden-kitchen-table” kind of faith. Easily as long as I’ve had a dining room table of my own, and possibly longer.
Now it seems I’m adding “larder” or “pantry” to that list.
Every time I bring home food – especially if it’s food that I’ve foraged or harvested myself (aka: food I’ve received in exchange for direct labour, rather than money) – I feel “Thank You”. I put up jars of apple butter or tomato sauce or cucumber pickles, I blanch and freeze beet greens or snap beans or dandelions, and I feel “Thank You”.
This ground – this specific piece of land, the ground within about 100km of my door (which is about a 20hr walk, end to end – call it three rather sore days of trudging, each way, if I were actually to attempt to walk it) – actually does sustain me. For real.
How can I not be thankful, be grateful, be appreciative, for that?
I think this is a big part of immanent thealogy. This “thing” where the Something Bigger Than You that provides for you is actually Something you see and interact with – this river, this meadow, this orchard or forest or field – on a frequent, if not flat-out constant, basis.
It means that I look at things differently.
I mean, yes, I play the “Can you eat that?” game just about everywhere I go. That’s as much because I’m broke and like to eat (YAY FREE GREENS!) as it is because I’m trying to Get To Know The Neighbours, but it is about Getting To Know The Neighbours.
Similarly, when I’ve got the extra three dollars lying around, I get the officially free-run eggs rather than the eggs of questionable origins, because the chickens are people too, and good working/living conditions for the laying hens are something I can throw money at[4]. I say thank you to the cow when I’m slicing up a beef heart for stew.
In short, essentially, I say Grace.
Do you?
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
[1] Most of my tomato preserves have turned out fine, but a number of my pint-jars of tomatoes (and a couple of my jars of pear butter) didn’t seal properly. I’m just glad I figured this out before I gave any away. :-\
[2] Also weird: I’ve started thinking of them as literal “stores” – as in not “shop” but “store house”.
[3] Although the Abundance Thinking that comes along with a cupboard full of pasta sauce, pickles, and fruit butters is pretty substantial, I have to say.
[4] Good living conditions for dairy cows or meat animals are typically more expensive. Although most Ontario dairy cattle are pastured, and at least some of the beef cattle are pastured (though probably not right up until slaughter day), most Ontario pigs are raised indoors on small (fewer than 500 pigs) family farms. Most of the pork I buy is Traditionally Raised – which means small farm, and not pumping them full of antibiotics. I look forward to ordering one of these in February.


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