Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Hugin and Munin- Thought and Memory

Hugin and Munin Sculpture
Hugin and Munin are Odin's raven spies. They fly about gathering information and bring it back to Odin. They are known as Thought and Memory.

Thought and Memory

I think therefore I am.

Sometimes I think if others could see my thought processes they might think I am a little crazy.

I especially go into overload in the grocery store but not in the way you might expect. If you know me you know I love to cook and explore new foods and I like to wild harvest food.
What happens to me in a grocery store revolves around my disdain over what we call food and what we accept as reasonable and normal.
I feel like I am in a universe of bad options.
I don't want to bring anything home that comes in Styrofoam. ( I'll rant about that another time, why I HATE the stuff and think it is utter madness.) I wish to reduce or give up on plastic bottles and excess packaging.
OK so that is just a start. Then there is country of origin. Asparagus from Peru? Why do I need to eat out of season food from the other side of the planet?
Organic versus conventionally grown...well you can guess the answer to that one....Local non organic verses organic not local...not so easy. Sometimes local, not organically certified is actually organically grown...but not having jumped through the hoops for certifications...
Ahh, but what about coffee ( don't drink it at home), cooking oils ( I buy them), grains and legumes?
You will find it harder an harder to buy USA grown organic grains. Many come from China now and I take their certification with a grain of salt.

Don't you love that phrase? With a grain of salt? Have to look that one up!

Off to the seafood case. it is harder to shop for seafood here as the labeling requirements in Washington State were stricter. Not everything is labeled farmed or by country of origin.
I don't eat farmed fish even though some are considered OK....they aren't OK by me.
I don't eat fish that has been over fished..That doesn't leave much left and I love fish and could eat it daily.I used to be able to get all my detergents, shampoo, oils,soy, maple syrup, honey and teas, grains and pasta in bulk bringing my own containers. I have many of these sourced out but not all.
Meat...local from small herds or flocks..No Styrofoam. Pretty limiting. I had all this down, living in Port Townsend. I am only half way there living in North Carolina. I haven't had the time to explore all my options yet. There are CSA's and lots of organic farms all around. I'll set up my network again. I'll replant my mint and lemon balm patch for my year's supply of tea and harvest nettles and whatever else I learn to find in the woods and by streams.

It is all part of the adventure.

I do manage to come home with food but often not what I was hoping for. Yesterday at the fancy Fresh Food Market they had only a small amount of tofu and none I could buy unpackaged. There was no organic chicken or bulk teas. Most of the vegetables were not organically grown.
There was very little in the way of rice or soy milk on the shelves. Most of the crackers were not organic. I'll keep looking for a really good place for the winter months and will connect with the Farmer's Market in the spring.
We got an estimate for clearing a small area for me to grow a garden. $1,000 plus will need to bring in dirt ( clay here) and fence out the deer and bunnies...Does it make sense?
That's a lot of veggies to get to zero. I miss my garden...terribly. It made sense in a world that to me does not.

My Port Townsend Garden

Hopefully the world will have to end the transport of food that could be local from far away. Here I see Washington apples imported across the country in an area that is rich in apples! The very same varieties no less. Madness.
Fight back when you shop. One by one it does add up. Or perhaps it doesn't. I don't know, but it is just the way I am wired and I am not likely to change much! It only seems to get worse the more I think about the crazy way we eat.

my bed as it was in Port Townsend

Back to Hugin and Munin

I ponder several ideas....they haunt me actually.

The idea that I, and we, have about objects and places of violent death. You know, the place marked by the roadside where someone was killed in a wreck. The shrines of fake flowers and other mementos. Cemeteries and gravestones...objects given to us by friends or from those now gone or far away, or made by our children, grandchildren and loved ones.
Do we think the soul's of the death hover at the places they died? Why make a memorial to the place they died? Why not of where they were born? We don't fear what we were before we were born but we fear what we are or are not after our death. Why is that? The conscious to the unconscious?

These objects and places take on meaning for us. I kept a bright yellow colander for years that I never liked, because it was a gift from a friend. I recently gave it to my son Tucker.
I no longer in touch with this friend from my Vermont days and was able to let it go. Having moved across the country again I have boxes of mementos. My touchstones to my past. Each object a storehouse of memories.

Last night I slept upstairs in our guest bed because Jim is sick.
He rarely gets sick and has been healthy through a long stretch of stressful times and just finished his last show of the season. I guess his body just decided it was OK for him to shut down and take a break. Chicken soup is on the stove cooking...not organic, and it does have some kashsa and seaweed in it!

What got me thinking about objects and memories. I slept last night in my old bed and sheets and blankets brought here from Port Townsend, Washington. The bed I shared with Bob now here and for the first time since I moved, slept in by me, by myself.
That sure was hard. Yesterday was Bob's ( my soon to be x) 62nd birthday so naturally he was on my mind all day. Wondering how he was doing I sent him a Happy Birthday email and also emailed my list of friends and family that I thought might want to wish him a Happy Birthday as well.
He still is not talking to me.

So here I am with my thoughts and memories trying to weave my past into my present and create a new beginning. Some days it flows and is easy and other days I cry and try to accept the joys and the sorrows. I feel that being here now is the right thing for me to be doing. I wish I did not have to cause so much sorrow for myself and others in order to get here.

There it is: the conundrum.


  1. I understand your shopping dilemmas. (except that I'm mostly vegan) I wish I had a green thumb and a beautiful garden like you had! If you can't find fresh organic tofu, you'd probably enjoy making your own. It's super easy and so much better tasting than store bought. I recently bought a soy milk maker and use organic soy beans. It's become one of my favorite kitchen tools.

    Good luck with your new life!

  2. PS Beautiful sculpture - that's what caught my eye when I was blog browsing!

  3. nice to have a look at your studio and home. We put in a 22ft mandala garden this year using permaculture. I learned a lot and have figured our some changes for next year. The weather here wasn't so good for warm weather crops; and the greens were amazing. I am still harvesting kale.

  4. Russian kale grew year round in the northwest. It is one of my favorite greens along with purple mystard greens.