Yesterday, after market, I went to Asheville for the sole purpose of going to Earthfare. I work on a farm and sell at the farmers market and then I have to go to specialty grocery store 40 minutes away. I’m aware how ridiculous that is. I spent over an hour at Earthfare, too. After eating bok choy, kale, spring mix and eggs for two weeks, the notion of any variety of food already prepared and in containers is overwhelming. Eating straight from the field escalates the novelty of everything you can get at a store. The options we have are incredible. I don’t mean to diminish the experience of eating what I’ve harvested at all; that is most satisfying. After only eating what you have, though, going to a store is like suddenly encountering the rest of the world. I bought too many things, the most superfluous and thrilling of which was an orange chocolate torte. Good grief.
I came back from Asheville via the Blue Ridge Parkway. I think that stretch of the parkway between highways 26 and 23 might be my favorite. (There is an entrance to the parkway about 5 miles from where I’m living, off of 23). Yesterday was breezy and overcast with those low-hanging cotton-white clouds nestled on the mountains. There are lots of big evergreens around that part – maybe they are balsams? – and there were several places that looked like images from Northern Europe, maybe even forests in Scotland. Misty evergreen forests make me think of those places. It could be a misconception. They were connected to the Appalachians before the plates split up.
I stopped at several overlooks, of course, and at one in particular, there was a huge wall of exposed rock where the mountain was cut away, and looking at it I got overly emotional thinking about what it took over 400 million years for these rocks to build up and flatten back out and rise up again, and the flora and fauna to establish themselves, and everything just coalesced so well. I took geology this spring, and as tedious as identifying rocks can get, the formation of everything is still pretty thrilling. I was thinking, too, about the building of the Blue Ridge Parkway and the New Deal and that history. I love it all.
Even though I’m living on a mountain, the farm smells tend to overwhelm all the familiar mountain smells, like rhododendron, wet rocks, and whatever else makes that mountain concoction. So until I got out on the parkway, I hadn’t really felt that mountainous sense of place. I need to go hiking on the weekends, or something. I was on the parkway in the late evening, so as I got closer to US-23, I rounded a bend and suddenly there were tiny lights below. I think it might be Waynesville. I remember when my family went out to Colorado when I was 5, we took a picnic with Bill to some park on a mountain one day, and we stayed until the sun set so we could watch the lights come on in the city below. Then as we drove down the mountain, I was fascinated watching the lights through the trees, and imagining the flickering lights were fairies.
Winding round the Blue Ridge with my windows down and singing to my music will keep me going.
Summer morning rains are so pleasing. I woke up to a good one this morning. We had pancakes for breakfast.
This afternoon I went to a contra dance to play bass in the band. It was at the Jackson County Library. When I decided to come to this farm I read about Sylva on the internet a lot, and more than anything I was excited about this library. They renovated it last year, and it looks great from the pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/thesylvaherald/sets/72157626899418934/ The dance was in the hall with the folding seats. The library is closed on Sundays, so I didn’t get to see the rest of it. They close at 6, 8 and 4 on different days, so it’ll be a task for me to get over there. Anyhow, the dance was so fun. We had a 9 piece band. They don’t have a bass player, but they have up to 5 fiddles, 2 guitars, a banjo and a flute/guitar guy. They’re called Out of the Woodwork! They said I could come to the next dance in Waynesville in two weeks. So I did all right for my first. One of the violinists has an organic farm with her husband and we use some of their land and they contribute to the CSA boxes we do. She also gets the civic orchestra together. She told me they’re having a concert in September, so I’ll be doing that too. The caller they had for this dance was great. Frederick Park is his name. He’s a storyteller, too. Everyone was good-humored and friendly and salty. I’m very well pleased. I wanted to take pictures of the band and the dance, but it’s tricky to balance a camera and a bass at the same time.
Here are some things that I’ve been enjoying:
Radiolab! I’ve been listening to this show for a few years now. I love it. The most recent episode is about color! The color episode and an old one called “Space” are my favorites. The best part of “Space” is an early segment with Carl Sagan’s wife, Ann Druyan, talking about how they fell in love and Voyager Golden Record.
Symphony of Science! They’re all on youtube too. My favorites so far are “We are all connected” and “the quantum world”
“Impossible” by Sara Watkins. I can’t find a good recording of it on the internet. I bought it, so I’ll figure how to post it someday.
WNCW! We frequently have this station playing while we wash vegetables, and sometimes we even bring the radio into the field. I really like this station and that it comes out of the Isothermal Community College, named such because it’s located in the “thermal belt,” which the only explanation I’ve found of what the thermal belt is, is that it’s relatively warm most of the time there, in Spindale, NC! The station has a huge range and brings in guests all the time, and it’s at this little community college with a great name.
I still haven’t written about the farmers market. I’ll get to it. I need to take pictures there, too.