Our long weekend off due to Homecoming has come to a close and I
am so, so thankful for having had those extra days without classes!
While I suppose I could have joined in the festivities on campus, I
decided instead to take advantage of 48 extra hours of unscheduled
time and do some Mackie things.
Don't worry! I did contribute to some Homecoming prep; we worked
on beautifying the garden with more weeding and new mulch! Current
students, if you'd like to stay up to date on garden happenings,
check out the NUHS Botanical
Garden Project on Facebook!
After classes ended for the week on Wednesday (amid the cracking
of a powerful thunderstorm, the lightening vivid in the grey sky),
I joined some ND girlfriends at a nearby wine bar for a drink and
some appetizers. The five of us each toasted to intelligent and
loving company, the beauty of a steel-grey sky amid the storm, and
our ND student friend Anayibe, who took this tri off to go on an
adventure to the World Cup in Brazil, and to visit her family in
her home country of Colombia. Ana is a vibrant friend, so positive,
so present, so quietly loving and funny. She may be only 4'11-¾"
tall, but her presence is huge; we feel her with us every day. It
is a powerful thing to find a friend like this, and I speak for
many when I say we miss her in a wild way.
In the spirit of my friend Anayibe, I
watched an episode of Anthony Bourdain's newest show, "Parts
Unknown," (a food travel show), that takes place in Colombia. Now I
can't wait to tell Ana about my hopes that she'll take me on a trip
to her country and show me around! (Maybe we can even apply our ND
training somehow; I guess we'll see when the time comes for
adventure…) The best line in the show came from a Colombian
musician-turned-chef who tells Bourdain, "I believe more in a
beautiful carrot than in a good recipe."
Thank goodness for chefs like this! To me (and in the
context of this show), a beautiful carrot signifies the harmonious
interaction between humans and nature, the ability for humans to
enjoy a gorgeous carrot born of the earth and to glean both
nutrition and pleasure from it. According to naturopathic
philosophy, if one lives by nature's laws, health is "the innate
and natural state of being" because humans evolved on this planet,
selecting for traits that allow for survival in harmony with the
environment here. We practice Earth Medicine because we do so on
When I lived in the mountains of Northern California I got a CSA
(community sustained agriculture) box bursting with fresh produce
once a week. When I moved to Chicago, I vowed that no student
budget would keep me from living close to nature through my food.
As Michael Pollan says in his book The Omnivore's Dilemma,
"Eating's not a bad way to get to know a place." I shop at the
farmer's market here in Oak Park every weekend.
Last weekend a few NMSA members met at the farmer's
to stock up on veggies, flowers, and yes, those irresistible
Supporting local farmers, especially those who use organic or
hazard-free methods, ensures that I get the most nutrients through
my food. It also allows me to participate in one important aspect
of my community that supports the basic determinants of health
(hydration, sleep, nutrition, breath, and rest & recreation aka
Vitamin R) that lie at the core of naturopathic medicine. In the
back corner of the market there are always musicians gathered for a
bluegrass jam session, the local church sells irresistible donuts
to support their work, and the high school athletics department
sells baked goods to raise money for travel and equipment.
The vegetable scene at the Oak Park farmer's market.
The weekly market cultivates community, good nutrition,
rejuvenation and belonging. Some might say that life in the city is
irreconcilably distant from the natural world, but I argue
otherwise. I have found, through my friendships and through my
community, many ways to live by nature's laws. To name a couple, I
eat good food, and I take a wine break every now and then to stock
up on some Vitamin R.