Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Maddie's shoes remind me of some sturdy looking oxfords that I used to have. I dropped by her house last Saturday, and she, her dad, and her sister each lent me a pair of shoes. Maddie is 11 years old (help me, Tara, is that right?). We weren't sure if her shoes would fit me well enough for me to spend the entire day in them. I think she chose this pair because it's one of her roomier pairs of shoes, and shoes that she wasn't going to need back right away. She pointed out the "L" on the bottom of each sole, and we thought that maybe that might stand for "large" and that maybe they might just fit my feet.

They did fit. Sort of. While Maddie's shoes are tighter than any I would choose for myself, they didn't really do any damage to my feet, and I was able to be in them the whole day. And the really wonderful thing is that they are waterproof--it was quite a rainy day today. Maddie's shoes also came with some cat hair attached. I like that shoes pick up bits of what is around them.

I went downtown for an appointment this morning, and got a ride part way with Ben and Adam. Walking the rest of the way, I appreciated how the water beaded on Maddie's shoes. I saw an earring hanging off a pine tree, and lots of soggy brown leaves. I liked how my orange umbrella could be seen in puddle reflections.

Walking home I was thinking about how the cold and wet made me want to hurry, and shrug my shoulders up to my ears as if it would help me get home faster.

When I first put Maddie's shoes on, my toes felt pretty squeezed together, and it felt like the balls of my feet was being used more than the rest of my feet when I walked. They got a little tingly and numb after awhile being out in the cold, but not problematically so. And maybe because they are a darker colour (brown, with beige bits at the sides), and not so huge on my feet, and a bit like shoes I had as a kid, they didn't catch the attention of my eyes when I walked, so while I was aware of the felt experience of walking in them, I was less conscious of what they looked like on my feet.

Home and I did one last audio interview, made lunch and set about doing some school work I have been intensely afraid of facing. It wasn't so bad. I was hoping that the rain would let up before I needed to leave the house again, but it didn't, which was fine. I found myself again being really glad that I unknowing chose waterproof shoes for a watery day.

I went to the art studio for the Wednesday class. When I first got there, I was pretty early, so read a really lovely children's book, that I think was called "The Quiltmaker's Gift." I recommend it. Today we did more painting, but using modeling paste and plastercine. It's really a delightful group of kids. One girl who I have had several great conversations with, only wears shirts with frogs on them. She has 7 of them, each for a specific day of the week. Since I have only ever seen her on Wednesdays, I always picture her in this one green frog shirt, which is the only shirt I've ever seen her wear save once when there was a mix up with the laundry. Today she told me about how her dad is famous, but she can only remember one of the two reasons why. As a group we also talked about mythological creatures and where they might live if they did live or do live or have ever lived. It was sweet.

Most of the time at art class, Maddie's shoes were quite far in the background of things.

I then walked to the CSA pick up. I am about to make a large, but entirely worthwhile digression, in the form of an ode to community supported agriculture, so please bear with me.

But yes, in case you weren't aware, CSA stands for Community Supported (or Shared) Agriculture, and in Guelph we are lucky enough to have 3 CSAs that I'm aware of: Ignatius Farm, Fourfold Farm, and Wholecircle Farm, each have regular CSA drop offs where members can pick up fresh, local, organic seasonal veggies (and sometimes other things like eggs, meat, grain, flowers and fruit) . Yes, so I basically talk about this to anyone who shows the slightest interest or is willing to listen (I take pride in having convinced some folks I'd never met before to sign up), because it is something that I enjoy so very very much for several reasons:
a) it's a great way to support local farmers and local food production, food security, and food sovereignty. (This point could be expanded into several more about ecological footprints and so on...)
b) it fosters a really lovely sense of community. I find myself meeting all sorts of people while weighing my carrots for the week, or choosing leeks. People that I look forward to seeing the next time.

c) it introduces me to all sorts of veggies (khol rabi, collards, kale, celeriac, heritage tomatoes, rock melons, fennel...) without being faced with choice--what we get is what is growing, and the variety is huge. It encourages me to be creative and adventurous and resourceful.
d) I'm more aware of the rhythm of the season--spring is greens (lettuce, lettuce, garlic scapes, turnip, khol rabi, pac choi, lettuce, lettuce); summer is EVERYTHING (green, red, purple, and flowers, too); and in fall it tapers off to eventually root veggies and some frost-tolerant greens.

e) it's joyful! In the people I meet, but also in feeling connected to and excited about the food that I'm eating. I've been lucky enough to spend some days on the farm--working, or else being there on CSA member days for tours and workshops. It feels really good to know what khol rabi looks like when it grows, or the best way to pull green onions or peel garlic. (Not to mention how good it feels to have done so much work before 8am). And to have a connection with who is doing all this super hard work to make sure that I (and so many others) can have access to such nourishing food, and to hear about their challenges and successes (we get a newsletter each week with updates and recipes).
Thank you for tolerating my enthusiasm. I enjoyed catching up a bit with Leslie and Jeff, and filling my bag with kale (don't you get this excited about kale, too?), and choosing leeks with an impressive circumference.

Right-o. Ben and I stayed and helped pack things up before heading home and oooing and ahhing over our yummy yummy veggies. This time of year the pick ups begin to all look the same, but we still get excited so far. I don't think I could ever not be excited by delicata squash. Oh my.

Maddie's shoes, though not really quite meant for feet my size, actually were pretty comfortable to wear. They are quite practical (waterproof!), and quietly grown up in a way. But kind of dapper, too. And people were surprised when I told them they belonged to an 11 year old. They thought they belonged on my feet! This just now made me think a bit about the awkward self that I was at 11 (and still am, a bit)...that uncomfortable time of straddling childhood and adolescence, and how difficult it was for me to find things like shoes and clothes that fit right and were comfortable. I don't know if that's at all where Maddie's at, but it's a bit of where these shoes are at--a bit small for an adult, and a bit big for a child...but at home enough, and comfortable enough for either.

No comments: