There is an old country song that says “I was country when country wasn’t cool”, one of my all-time favorites. Not because it is a great song – in my world it was, but because it speaks to my heart. I don’t know if it was how I was raised, doubtful as I’m the only one of my sisters that seems to be ‘infected’, maybe the reincarnation theory is right, or maybe I am just too darn independent and strong willed for any other kind of out-come.
Those that know me know my heart is in a quieter time. Where self-reliance ruled the day and you could trust those around you. Family bonds were deep and children were raised up. If tomorrow all my dreams came true … how different my world would be.
I would be living down on my land in the country, that small plot of land has a very strong emotional pull for me. Although, I would need to finally build a house there, something small and rustic with a wraparound porch, and I would still want it tucked slightly away from the road down the hill a bit. This would drive my hubby crazy as he is the outgoing one in the family and loves to visit with the neighbors. The ground would already be cleared for my raised bed garden, it’s too rocky for traditional farming, and my greenhouse would already be in place filled with veggies and herbs. My dogs would be roaming around my fenced yard at will, trotting down to the lake to bother the critters there. Neeko would probably be getting scolded daily for bringing up a box turtle or two. Our personal haven from a world gone slightly mad…
b’longa’b would already be a community, because that is how I see it. Kind of like the old-time general store, a place more transformational than transactional.
If I close my eyes I can see it perfectly clear, it’s a little old service station in a small town that has long since been gutted and all the hazards removed. It has a big awning over the front when the pumps used to be, it is a requirement that folks have a place to just relax out front safe from the sun and rain. There are places to sit among the herbs and flowers, places to learn and plants to buy if you need some for your garden at home. Tea and coffee are always available to encourage you to sit a spell. Once you walk inside is where the magic is, b'longa’b will take you back in time. It’s a place where any crafts person can sell their creations, where the American dream can become a reality, a place where independence is rewarded. Oh the wonders inside, I am not insane enough to believe that my two hands can create enough to fill a store, but I am determined enough to believe I am not the only person that believes that sometimes the old ways are the best ways.
The old pie pantries filled with fresh jellies, jams and preserves of all types. Jars on shelves filled with candies that only contain real ingredients. In the other corner the beautiful rovings and yarns from the alpaca and sheep farms. I can see and smell the handmade soaps, feel the dishcloths and washcloths. Beautiful treasures to fill our everyday needs that someone took the time to lovingly create. Knit, crochet, needlework, wood working, basketry, handspun, and quilted, those are just a few of the “lost arts” that meet our daily needs at b’longa’b. And we must not forget the gardening section heirlooms only please and the idea sharing. In the midst of it all, there will be community. A place for people to gather, to converse, to disagree and meet in the middle, where ideas are shared, kids are enjoyed, where life slows back down to a comforting pace and we are all able to reconnect.
As I open my eyes again I know that dream can happen, heck just yesterday I sold two more bars of soap – because another person realized we don’t have to have the chemical laden mass produced junk that fill the multitude of stores surrounding us. My ranch house in the city is full of parts of that dream, my garden beds are sleeping for the winter and my greenhouse is coming together in small pieces.
I am not a fan of the world today, not that I even slightly begin to believe that the old days were a beautiful utopia. It wasn’t. It was hard, dirty work. People didn’t live as long because of that life, but the respect for that life was greater. And I don’t want to give up all my modern technology, although television could disappear now and I would truly be okay with it, but I would love to marry the best parts of now with a more Amish way of life. I want running water, but I don’t want my world consumed by stuff.
I want to be part of a world that discusses ideas and agrees to respect the others point of view. I want to be part of a rational world that doesn’t believe that you should just have something for nothing. I want to be part of a world that looks out for one another, but at the same time holds each one of us accountable for the general good. I want to be part of a community…
Now where did I put that apron? It’s time to roll up my sleeves and get busy creating my dreams!