Sunday, when I was watering the garden, I spotted a strawberry almost ready to be picked. Imagine my dismay to find that on Monday, something--a squirrel or a bird or a slug--had gotten to it before I did and left half of it on the ground. But today, back watering the garden over my lunch break, I eyed another berry, not super red, but red enough. I usually am pretty good about sharing the fruits of the garden with the local fauna, but not today. I picked it. Admittedly, it might have benefited from another day in the sun, but I picked it anyway. It smells like a good strawberry, that sweet, bright, smell that they have. And I smile just thinking about it. This is a berry that I grew. And that will make it extra good when I eat it tonight.
Growing something one's self is a counter-cultural act in America today, but is something almost everyone can do. Even if just a pot of herbs on the windowsill. Wendell Berry, long an agricultural advocate, has said we should all grow something to eat. It is economical, local, you know where it came from and there is a great joy of eating something that one nurtured to maturity. And for those of us with broader counter-cultural leanings, there is the sly smile that creeps across the face when eating something completely outside the clutches of big industrial food. I have my best Cheshire Cat grin on right now.