Monday, February 23, 2009
Girls in the Kitchen
Or really women. I was just thinking the other day (and I am sure this post won't be nearly so elegant as the thoughts that were thought) about the state of women's relations and how they have evolved, not necessarily for the better, though that seems to be slowly changing. There was a time when families who were friends got together regularly and had meals. The meals didn't consist of going out somewhere or just showing up to have Martha Stewart serve you all evening. Rather, there was comraderie that was built through the kids playing together, the men chatting manly stuff or helping each to other around the "place" and the women working together on the meal. If someone was in need, friends came around and lent a hand-barn raisings and quilting bees, for example. With our modern lifestyles we have lost a lot of that community. We like to think we still have it, through facebook, going shopping together, chatting at coffeeshops and playdates, but I think it really has fallen to the wayside. We have become self-reliant in ways that are not healthy, and dependent in others that are worse. Instead of depending on ourselves for food production (or at the very least trying to stay local), we run to the supermart. When something goes wrong, we often don't tell anyone until we have already found a way to buy what we need, or the doctor has told us we need an antibiotic. The purchase of help seems far more common than letting our close friends know that something's up (like bedrest, sickness, a lost job). Many families would rather let the government step in and help rather than admit to those close to us we aren't making it. I think a major part of the green movement now needs to be "greening" of our relationships. Okay, so that sounds corny. But in a call back, for more than just nostalgic reasons, we need to relearn how to be families and communities again. Not just neighbors, though that is a great starting place, but communities as a whole. I see it starting, it just felt like it needed pointing out. Small groups, like breastfeeding mamas, cloth diapering mamas, those who want to urban homestead, those of us homesteading the old fashioned way, and cooperative farming, are all reforming community, and learning to rely on each other rather than "the man". And I love it. The last few weekends we have spent with close friends who needed a little help with some tractor issues. I feel like we gained as much as they will have once we solve the tractor crisis, in that we are building our friendships and learning more that we can depend on each other as needed. We putter around the kitchen together, the kids are fairies in the back yard, the babies explore each other, and the men do what men do (which is rather entertaining to observe and eavesdrop on). I love it. It feels like what the kitchens of my great grandmothers would have been like. Yes, a good portion of teh foodstuffs is the hostess' but I try to help. And were it not for a bad weekend for the tots, would have gladly stayed to clean up. Planning more get togethers of the like only makes me more excited. It is far more relaxing to go to another kindred soul's home, where I know I am welcome and I can totally be myself, than to a restaurant or playplace. At the same time, when visiting another dear friend who had recently given birth, I helped bring a meal and clean up some dishes-which to me felt far more appropriate than bringing a gift I had bought. (Though I did make a couple things, because she's my friend, and I like to do that;) )I promise I am not trying to ramble here, but the importance of being there for others in a real, tangible way-not just as book cover friends, but as genuine between the pages types, is so important to our success as a society. When things began communities helped each other out (now they also had witch hunts, but...) and in our industrialized society we have lost a lot of that. I see it starting to happen a little more, especially with we weird folks-natural types, un/homeschooling types, farmer types-and I love it. I just hope we recognize it and do our part to perpetuate it and make it the norm, rather than the exception. Nostalgic, maybe, but I always have been. I DO think there are things that were better the way they were.