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Grass No. 9 - Where The Grazing Is Best

                              Thoughts on contentment & home
Grass No. 9 - Where The Grazing Is Best
By Hudson Gardner • Issue #9 • View online
                              Thoughts on contentment & home

I woke up this morning and went downstairs. I drank a cup of raw milk, almost salty, thick with cream, and yellow. The gal up the road must be milking her Jersey to have the milk so thick and delicious.
Then I made rice gruel, Okayu (お粥) which you can make with leftover rice, water, and an egg. To the gruel I added sliced leeks and toasted sesame oil. It’s something I used to make, when I had lived someplace for a long time. It’s a dish that feels like home to me.
I have been thinking about what makes someplace home. Home is a place that’s like being in water, but not having a name for water. Certain songs sound like this to me. But with any place there are things left out, and I think this is why it’s easy, particularly today, to be somewhere but think about elsewhere.
I found contentment years ago, but lost it. And today, as Anna and I rode along a black road dimmed by the strange orange light of fire season, with haze in the distance turning the mountains indistinct, I thought about what it would take to be content again.
Now in the evening the heat of the day fades, even though the strange light from smoke is still orange on the trees and houses. People are cooking in the kitchen, and Anna just put vegetables into the stove on the porch. Across the street green apples proliferate the trees. The coolness that comes every evening rises up from the little rivers, floods through town and over fields, then into the backyard, where this morning I saw a few deer eating the wildflowers I had planted this spring. They leave only the poppies and others too small to bother with. The deer move around, sleeping somewhere else each night.
I watch a buck with velvet antlers eat, and think about the life they live. They eat grass, apples, and people’s gardens, they go where the grazing is best, that’s all. It’s more complicated for people…

“To the Navajos the land was imbued with spiritual meaning. So many of their rituals and ceremonies were connected to the land; during the Long Walk they feared they were being exiled not only from their home but from their gods.
I can’t imagine feeling that rooted. I call North Carolina home, since I’ve lived there for more than twenty years, but I’ll never think of myself as a Southerner. I no longer consider New York City home, though it’s where I grew up. Like most Americans, I’ve moved many times. I remember the places I’ve lived as if they were the faces of people I’ve loved; I’ve cherished each of them. But where do my roots connect with the earth? Do my roots go down—or sideways?
Chief Seattle… said his people would haunt us. Was he right? Did we herd the “savages” into reservations only to watch ourselves become more and more savage?
But Americans don’t believe in curses, or the ghosts of dead Indians. We’re a nation on the move, makers of highways and information highways. We don’t call it rootlessness. We call it freedom.”
- Sy Safransky
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Hudson Gardner

Writing & Photos covering place, ecology, and existence.

Created and curated by Hudson Gardner

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