It was good to have precious time to pass the morning leisurely. My first class is not until one o’clock and I plan to have lunch at home before I go teach it. I got a lot done yesterday, then allergies from bloom and yellow dust kept me awake.
I was successful in wiring the conference fee to Italy, thanks to the perseverance of a local postal service (financial section) worker and the grace of the conference coordinator. The coordinator gave me more time and informed me that receiving the fee in any currency would be acceptable. The worker had to check the details of a complex form and phone around to get clarification on procedures, but he did it.
Then I went to the regular doctor’s appointment for the thyroid check-up and pills prescription. I did not have to wait very long and everything was fine despite the hectic hospital environment that I encountered. Some days, the stress of it are palpable and contagious.
Thankfully, the hospital where I get the check-ups is next to the Sajik swimming pool. I just crossed the highway and went for a dip. As expected, the pool was not as busy as on a Saturday, although there are many seniors’ activities going on in the pool on weekdays, apparently.
Conveniently, the pool is next to the big department store that I favour when it comes to shopping for some of the healthiest products and Western food. As it was already five o’clock, and I was starting to feel a little pooped out, I had a light dinner at the adjacent food court. I came home arms laden.
The afternoon was warm and the cherry blossoms already out. This spring is proving one of the best for the churning of my creative juices.
After having the epiphany yesterday, I reflected and had a lot to add to yesterday’s blog on the conclusions of Volume One of this blog. Having let my mind relax last night and this morning, however, I had a bit of a block.
With this epiphany occurring precisely at the time when I should have been closing down the computer and getting to work, I was late getting out of the house. Strangely, though, I felt calm about it because I had a hunch that it would be okay. Indeed, I encountered Y in the hallway as I was waiting for the elevator, and she said she was going to campus and planning to take a taxi. We took a taxi together and Y treated me to the ride.
Recall that the lecture of yesterday’s morning class was a TED talk by Carolyn Steel, architect and food urbanist who is author of Hungry Cities, and we can retrace our mental steps. She spoke of the profound relationship between agriculture and cities. It turns out that she also specialized in archaeology and has researched the archaeology of the development of city states, which is to say civilization, and discovered that grain farming made food production available for the long term and at a large scale, so that humans could settle, surpluses could accumulate and civilizations grow. This is the foundation of any human culture.
If, as Steel points out, urban human consciousness has lost its attachment and awareness to nature and agriculture as cities constantly expand and food is increasingly processed and put in packages in commercial stores, then there is a cultural flaw. When she recommends better urban planning with urban farming and farmers’ markets, education in nature and farming, and improvements in food quality, production and distribution especially at the local level, she is vocalizing support to movements for positive change so as to create a healthier and more sustainable way of life. We could encapsulate the collection of these efforts and echoes of this refrain under the heading, cultural renewal.
I think that I will have more to say about cultural renewal throughout the process of creating this blog. It is a kind of reflective practice of living.