I never thought I would leave the city, but here I am. I’m out in the country, in the peace, and sometimes startlingly quiet, like, where is everyone?
I always felt like I needed the bustle of the city, the chaos, the sirens at one in the morning. I found comfort in the noise, crowds, and crazy traffic. But sometimes I wonder, did I enjoy it, or did I find my center when chaos was happening all around me? I’ve heard somewhere that thriving in chaos could be a trauma response, but I haven’t looked into this much. Regardless, I decided to head to the country, at least for now.
In January, I was in Costa Rica, and while there, I spent a weekend in La Fortuna. Over the long weekend, I met up with a friend who invited me for a coffee and chocolate tour. I jumped on the opportunity. I love chocolate and coffee, and learning about growth and processes behind commonly consumed foods is nothing less than fascinating.
While living in the city, it can be easy to feel disconnected from food. We often don’t witness the planting, growth, harvest, and production of our foods and drinks we consume. These items simply appears on our plates or our grocery shelves, and we get to enjoy them for a simple exchange of dollars for goods.
That is the beauty (is that the right word?) of our modern-day society, at least for some of us.
When I saw the process behind coffee and chocolate, I was inspired. I knew at that moment that I wanted to connect more deeply to land and food and share about it. For years, I have worked for farms and restaurants, and I felt the call to dive in deeper.
Diving deeper doesn’t require a move out off the city, but the open spaces called to me, so here I am.
Back in 2020, when March rolled around, I found myself in Chicago. When the shops and restaurants shut down, it felt entirely too much like a ghost town. I followed instructions given to us by our government, and I distanced myself and stayed in my little cacoon. I avoided traveling, and I remained in my home’s immediate area. The streets of Chicago, even in the quiet neighborhoods, can feel dense. Many blocks are packed with businesses, residences, and what have you. Time passed, and it had been months of me remaining on the few blocks that comprised my neighborhood.
At the time, I didn’t feel stuck. Actually, I felt well equipped: physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially. I was one of those people who believed I had trained for this type of experience. I had spent many years somewhat alone and reflective, so this felt like a breeze, and at the time, I thought it was.
It was when I finally left the city to travel, that I realized how much I had been craving open spaces and land.
It was when I left and went to Costa Rica for a few months that I felt I could breathe again. I wasn’t aware that I had been holding my breath for so long. It was only in the expansion that this became clear to me. I didn’t realize how much I needed open space and sunshine. I had been living in an area where most of the rays were blocked by densely packed buildings, and streets filled with exhaust. Once I arrived in Costa Rica, I felt a joy that I hadn’t felt in some time. It offered open spaces and sunshine and boy, was I feeling alive. I wanted more of this.
Now, open space isn’t exactly why I decided to move to the country, but it informed my decision.
The desire for open space and the inspiration from the coffee and chocolate tour was the recipe that got me moving. It was also that; years earlier, I found a new depth to my health when I tapped into whole foods (not the grocery store but whole Foods from the earth). I’m no chef, but I enjoy picking out foods, learning about their origins, and experiencing their goodness. I have found God and healing in food, and I began to remember how much I enjoy connecting to the earth and its offerings.
It is so easy to forget entirely about the people and the land that offers us nourishing foods. I’m not saying this is intentional. Life moves pretty fast, and when you’re trying to survive, it’s easy to disconnect from one thing or another.
But I, like many others folks, no longer want to feel disconnected. We want to connect to life, to nature, to love. Do you feel this way, too?
I want to connect deeply to the earth, to food, and to land. I want to see and appreciate the work that happens in the country before the food heads to the shelves.
Farmers feed us. Unless you are growing all of your food, which maybe you are, farmers offer us sustenance. They put their love into their labor and feed the people.
While I am out here, I am not a farmer. I can’t claim that title, but I would like to participate in the process and see what I learn and discover. Maybe for a while, maybe longer than that.
So here I am, for now, in the country, with the dirt, patiently waiting for the plants and trees to come out of their slumber and provide us with their nourishing abundance. Strapping on my boots and getting my hands at least a little dirty.
And along the way, I would like to remember, more deeply, how to nourish and heal, how to see myself in plants and food and growth.