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  • I laugh easily, cry easily, anger easily. But when I sob over asparagus while reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, even the most sympathetic reader may turn away in disgust.

    One reason I wail about asparagus is my deep beliefs in being honorable and doing the right thing.Or my desire to believe that, hopefully, perhaps, I want to do the right thing. Doing the right thing often seems so difficult. If it were easy, we’d all do it, and maybe we’d all be in heaven.

    I have personal reasons to sob over asparagus.I used to grow them.I had a huge garden.I have a small garden now. I live in a big city with a small lot. My whole lot is smaller than my garden used to be.But it’s more than that. I don’t have the energy or time I used to have—or the will, perhaps.I have to divide my time; I have to make difficult choices.

    As Sue Monk Kidd says, in Firstlight, "To say YES to yourself and who you are and what you must do and be, you often have to say no to good things." To plethoras of good things. You have to live with guilt and anger.

    If, for now at least, I am not going to grow asparagus, then where will I get it? At the grocery store, or at the farmer’s market? The Farmer’s market would be the correct choice, if that were reasonably possible.But here, the farmer’s market is far away and the farmers even farther. And the farmer’s market here has food from everywhere. It’s not a real farmer’s market with locally grown produce; it’s just people who buy up the same stuff the grocery store has and resell it. All very fake. There may be a few real farmers at the farmer's market, but not many.

    The problem as Barbara Kingsolver puts it, is “oily food.” We’re paying for transportation; transportation uses nonrenewable resources." And food freshness and quality is lost in the process. I want to support local farmers, cut down on the oil my food, and eat fresher healthier food. I’ve always wanted that, even before Barbara Kingsolver. That causes my tears because being the good person I'd like to be seems impossible for me, and as I age and lose energy, it becomes daily worse. Here on earth, being good may be impossible.

    I can only do what I can do.

    Mary Stebbins Taitt
    image credit: me (quick sketch)
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