Tuesday, December 6, 2016

We're Not From Around Here

This originally was posted years ago, but I am updating it for Jenna 2016. I'm not the same girl who wrote it. But I am the woman who loves that version of me. And much of it remains the same.

We're Not From Around Here

We're not from around here. I know you see us all the time, but trust me, we're from another place. We lived our whole lives right next door to you, but we left some time ago.

We found another place and it suits us just fine.

It's not far or hard to get to. Chances are you pass it all the time when you're driving too fast to work or throwing another frozen dinner in the shopping cart. You can't get to us that way. We aren't there.

We're the ones in the next aisle buying yeast, flour, sugar, and coffee. We buy provisions, not groceries. We learned that food tastes better when you grow it yourself. We started with just a few recipes then learned to chew at a trot and now the idea of Lunchables and drive-thru hamburgers makes us tilt our heads a little. We're not above them, not by a long shot, we just don't have those where we're from. Or maybe we did and forgot about them? I can't remember. It's easy to forget about such things when you hop the fence to go where we went. There isn't a lot of shrink-wrapped circular ham there.

We're from this other place. It's just like yours but the naps are better. We came for a bunch of different reasons but we all set up shop in the same community. It's not a physical location, of course. (It's much better than that.) It's a place in our actions, our decisions, our conversations, our hope. It's a place in our hobbies, our skills, and our secret desire to know what a warm egg feels like in lanolin-wet palms. It doesn't matter where we came from or who we were before. This new place kinda took us all in and showed us how to calm the hell down.

What? You're confused? Oh, well, you probably saw us there and just didn't realize it. Remember when we didn't answer your texts because we were in the garden? Or that time we gave up a weekend in Nashville to make a chicken coop? Or last Saturday when we spent the whole day at that indoor farmer's market talking to the people at the wool booth we'd never met before, but felt like we knew while you kept telling us the movie was starting in thirty minutes... That's where we left to go. Sorry we missed the previews we were talking to our neighbors.

You can spot us pretty easy. Our men aren't afraid of facial hair and our women have been known to grab goats by the horns. Our children go barefoot and so do we. We're the quieter ones, in the corner, feet propped up on a second-hand coffee table in a fourth-hand wool sweater. That's one of us, right over there. See him? The one with the guitar slung over his back, and the black dog following his bike? See him now? He's the one with the saddle bags on the back wheel overflowing with a half bushel of tomatoes. No, he's not a tomatoes fetishist - he's canning today. He'll be eating fresh organic marinara in January pulled off the larder shelf. He'll let the black dog lick his plate when he's done. Yes, I'm sure. He's from where I'm from. We know our own.

See, where we come from people aren't scared of dirt—not even mildly abashed by it. My people will spend an entire August morning with a potato patch. We'll also spend an entire October night in front of a bonfire with home brew and fiddles. My people know how to darn a sock and bake a loaf of bread. They know how to cast on and be cast away. Sure, we'll join you for dinner in a restaurant, but we'll probably opt for pasta. Where we come from food animals know what sunlight feels like and have felt grass under their hooves. We don't eat the animals from your place. We saw what they saw before they died.

We're not from around here, but you'll see us everywhere. We're walking down the streets of Montreal, Chicago, Seattle, and L.A. We're waiting for a Taxi on the Lower East Side. We're mucking out goat pens, chatting at farm stands, jumping on the back of our horses and riding the L Train. We're everywhere and right next to you all the time, but we left that place and now we're gone. None of us are going back.

We thought about it. It passed.

HOOOO! You should see this place. Man, it's so beautiful. I mean a Wednesday afternoon at 3:47 is fall-down-the-stairs stunning. We learned to see this. We watched the fireflies come out on the porch and missed Trivia Night at the bar. Truthfully, we barely go out anymore. It's a side effect of the new place—there's just so much to do and we're scared if we let ourselves get distracted we'll miss the fireflies. We can only take so much tragedy, you see.

And hey, this place we went to—it's yours too. To be perfectly honest we're getting a little tired waiting for you to show up. Yeah, what you heard is true. The work is hard and the hours long, but I promise it's the best quiche you'll ever taste and the coffee is amazing. When you're ready we'll show you how to hop the fence like we did. It starts with a mason jar or a day-old chick in your palm and the road map kinda unfolds from there. Somewhere past the cloth diapers and the raw milk we're hanging out, yes there, over past the used trucks and beat tractors. See the bikes and carts along the barn? Keep going and you'll find us.

We know when you start coming to our place you'll get it. You won't want to leave either. And we'll wait. We've got another saddle in the barn. We planted an extra row of beans. We put aside a few spare jars of tomato sauce and let the hens know there's more breakfasts on the way. We'll make room. There's always a place for you at the table. (And just between you and me, If you want to get on the black dog's good side, let him lick your plate...)

Photo by Miriam Romais


Blogger Brian G. Fay said...

This is what I want. So good. The idea, the life, the writing.

December 6, 2016 at 9:50 PM  
Blogger Molly Jacobson said...

Jenna. This piece is stunning. I love it. When did you write it? Just curious. I'm one of them, one of you. Never have I heard us described to perfectly.

December 7, 2016 at 2:40 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Lovely. This becomes evident every time my kids visit.

December 7, 2016 at 8:04 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

That is some good writing girl.

December 7, 2016 at 9:36 AM  
Blogger hart said...

Nice place to live and a nice piece of writing too.

December 7, 2016 at 11:14 AM  
Blogger nancy hawks said...

That is a beautiful piece of writing Jenna. You are truly a gifted writer and you should never doubt yourself or what you are doing with your life. You are a great spokesman for those of us who choose to live our life more simply. I am 73 and I wish that I had made more changes in my life to simplify it, because the rewards are tremendous. I love reading your blog and your books, so keep moving forward with your life and don't let the naysayers get to you.

December 8, 2016 at 7:26 AM  
Blogger Christine said...

I remember this one ! I printed it out and kept it

December 8, 2016 at 9:58 AM  
Blogger Courtney Ripp said...

I recently found your YouTube Chanel and was wondering if you still post their. I noticed that there hasn't been a video in a while but I understand that videos aren't always in people's top priority list

December 8, 2016 at 10:18 AM  
Blogger Kyler and Sylvia said...

Great writing.

December 10, 2016 at 11:19 AM  
Blogger Maralee Childs said...

Simply awesome😊

December 10, 2016 at 3:56 PM  
Blogger Maralee Childs said...

Simply awesome😊

December 10, 2016 at 3:57 PM  
Blogger GMA/Mama T said...

Yes. To. Your. Thoughts. Written in words. From the soul.


Grandma T over at Tindel Den Cottage...down the dirt lane

December 15, 2016 at 6:44 AM  
Blogger GMA/Mama T said...

Yes. To.each. word.
Written from the soul...

Grandma T over at Tindel Den Cottage...
Down the dirt lane...

December 15, 2016 at 6:46 AM  

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