Kansas is a dream I had forgotten. Rolling hills and endless pastures, crooked oaks and friendly flowers, lazy rivers and quaint roads. Home.
We're almost over the jet lag, thanks to the Kansas sun and a laid-back schedule. Dad and I planted the vegetable garden the day after we arrived, while Hannah ate mud and caught crickets. Tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers, kale, swiss chard and onions will all hopefully grace the Jensen dinner table in a few short months. The best part was watering.
"Suzanne, there's a watering can over there. Go fill it up at one of the rain barrels and give these plants a drink."
He had built rain collecting barrels for all the major gutters of the house - a project I'm sure was met with lots of demands about aesthetics from my mom - and now? Free water. I happily filled that watering can 9 times, hauling it back and forth between the barrel and the garden. I cringed at every drop spilled, for somehow this water was more precious to me. This water fell from the sky into our hands, and asks for nothing in return. No filter. No pump. No gas. Just water.
I'm strangely disappointed in how convenient modern life has become. It's easier to turn on a hose and waste gallons of water than it is to use (free!) rain water. It's easier to check off my shopping list with products made in China (and all in the same store, too) than it is to find things locally made. A package of strawberries from California costs $1.00. How much oil did it take to grow and ship those strawberries to Kansas, "The Breadbasket of America," where we are perfectly capable of growing our own strawberries? It's easier to buy pre-cut, prewashed and bagged baby spinach or a bag of "baby" carrots than it is to 1. grow them ourselves, or 2. buy them in their natural, uncut, dirty forms. Where's the rest of the carrot, that's what I want to know!
It's easy for me to get mad. For me to roll my eyes at acres and acres of grass that are just waiting to be mowed. To shake my fist and judge the landowners who are consuming, but not producing. It would be convenient for me to write them all off as being ignorant and lazy, and then pompously return to my modest dwelling in Japan, where vegetables grow on every patch of land available. But I'm not here for convenient. I'm here for home. I'm here for her.