Useful Work

One of the smartest things I did when I got home was to find work. It was so grounding to have a schedule, even as loosey-goosey as it was, and some simple, straightforward, heavy lifting sort of work that gave me time to think all day or talk with the people around me or listen to a coworker's online art history class blaring through the crackly speakers. The funk and tang of fermenting fruit and vegetables permeated the air, the earthy smells keeping me in my body.

There's nothing quite like processing 5 or 6 bins of cabbage for kimchi and sauerkraut to really straighten out all of the tangles in your mind. The focus and precision needed for filling jars with brine demands full attention, no time for fussing about anything else. Cutting peppers, measuring spices, labeling jars, and washing out huge barrels with a giant brush took on a sort of meditative quality. Thirty Acre Farm, owned by my friends Simon and Jane, was a chop-wood-carry-water sort of time and place for me, and wholly necessary.