By Carol Hawkins
Today was our last build day. We were actually working on 3 different sites. Two wheelchair ramps were built and my team helped clean and organize a local food bank. As I was working at the food bank I had a few conversations with volunteers about food systems and the importance of food banks in the system.
So today as I worked with volunteers, I cannot help but ponder the wonders of modern society. This food bank is stocked with fresh eggs and produce that they cannot give away before it goes bad. People just do not seem to want the produce, they would rather have macaroni and cheese and top ramen than fresh food that they would actually have to cook.
I have to stop and ponder this, because on this ride across the country we are eating more unhealthy than I have in the past 6 years. I am completely at a loss about not wanting a real meal. It is the one thing I truly miss about living at home. I miss the rhythm of chopping and dicing fresh produce, the sizzle of the saute pan and the aroma of fresh food being prepared.
As we worked on wheelchair ramps for disabled people, I began to ponder their situation and how I would cope with not being independent and having the ability to prepare my own meals. Since my first half of the day was spent in a food setting, it was primary on my mind.
I miss the farmer’s markets of Seattle. I miss the company of good friends over a simple meal and a proper glass of wine. I miss many things about home. As this ride comes to an end, I am anxious to get back to my life. The problem is my life is never going back to how it was before. You see, I gave up my apartment, my personal things and my job to go on the greatest adventure of my life. When I get back I will be at the mercy of friends for a place to stay. I will also be looking for a temporary job, since I have applications into the Peace Corps, I cannot put my roots down again. I am again, very soon going to head off onto another great adventure.
In this current adventure I have learned so much, biggest of which, is the importance of roots. My roots are based in food systems. It is my passion and my joy. It is the greatest thing I miss as I pedal across the country. A kitchen, a pot, a knife and fresh produce. But it is beyond these things, it is about the comfort I find in food that I share with those I love. These are the things that I miss the most.
Seattle, I am coming home, even if it is for but a brief moment in time.