the TAO of CHANGE

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Winter Thrills and Chills. More Cycles, Still Locally Led

by Tao Oliveto, Carrboro, NC

It’s that strange time of year in Mid-Winter -  a time that brings in and up feelings that seem to exist both inside and outside. One day the cold feels exhilarating, the next day it just feels, well, cold. One day the possibilities of change and new encounters seem endless and the next day, it’s just, well, Winter, and everything radiates stillness.

Being from Minnesota, I still have an equally strange love affair with this time of year – and by definition, that includes the tendency to be thrilled, annoyed, infatuated and disillusioned with the whole ordeal. But, it also means that I’m in it for better and for worse, in sickness and in health. And there’s a lot of health in Winter, if you keep looking – and lots of it is still LOCALLY produced!

Our local and commuity Farmers are still growing and raising. Chickens are laying eggs and I’m still enjoying the milk from the CSA. In my attempts to maintain my diet of mostly local foods, my intake of greens is now limited to kale and collards, but it’s not a bad way to go. I had ventured from vegetarianism to occasional consumption of local meats, but then found more mental and physical comfort sticking with the abundance of local dairy products I have access to and am back to a mostly meat-free diet.

Other local choices this Winter – we stocked up on the Anson Mills grains from South Carolina before Winter set in, as well as pounds of raw butter that I keep in the common freezer in my community. Local honey is still in the cupboard and I’m ready to tap into my first home kombucha brew this week, though I’m still stuck with purchasing my sauerkraut from the co-op until I get down to more fermentation projects of my own.

I hear so many people speak of the Winter blues, or of the “waiting” they are doing for Spring, when they will go back to the way of life they are more comfortable with. Of course, as I’ve learned, there’s not much to be learned or lived where you are only “comfortable” and there’s something to be said for the challenges we face in Winter. Ask the Farmers. They will tell you all about it.

All we have to do is think about it. Stay tuned in to the cycles and to your community.

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