My father was the son of a Polish serf. I don’t know if we humans really have a collective unconscious memory of things our ancestors experienced, but I suspect we have something like that. We still find a campfire relaxing, even if it’s just in a living room fireplace, we still like waterfront homes, even if water comes out of the faucet, and we still jump if we hear a stick snap in the dark, even though it is highly unlikely that a wolf is about to eat us.
As the grand daughter of a Polish serf, I still have the urgent desire to own my own little piece of land, something Polish serfs could not do. You will never starve if you have a little land, my deep brain seems to say, and it doesn’t matter if the pantry is full.
Another odd thought that floats to my forebrain now and then is that if I have no potatoes, I have no food! I don’t even eat potatoes very often, I just want to have them. I know it makes no sense, but to a Polish serf, a root cellar full of potatoes meant the difference between life and death.
My baby brother is very happy today because he is preparing a community garden with a couple of friends. They call it their Victory Garden. He said he can’t wait to have a bowl of new potatoes. He must have that potato fixation, too. He said our Pop showed him how to plant tomatoes when he was small and Pop told him, “Remember this, Mark. This is life.”
I think we should all show our kids how to plant and harvest real food, even its just some cherry tomatoes in a pot on the balcony.
And we should tell them, “Remember this, my child. This is Life.”