Tuesday, June 18, 2013

the trade

it is no surprise to those who know me well or to those who may have caught a previous post that i like to express my current frustrations with the global system in which we find ourselves a part. since those sentiments have been written here more than once, i will refrain from them in this post, as there is another reason for these words today.

in my confusion and concerns for how i am to find my place in this world without taking part in the systems that exploit other humans in the form of child labor or slavery, i recognize that it is very hard. it is seemingly impossible. how do i avoid cheap clothes and necessary food items even though i know that someone somewhere could have been abused for it? many times i can't. or i don't. the argument, as i said, is not the point of this post, but the argument is what leads me to the point. just because avoiding is hard to do does not mean it's not worth the try. and in this journey, i have learned a lot about how this system has changed things for the worse. 

one such thing is the occupation known as the trade. the butcher. the milkman. the beekeeper. the seamstress. the clockmaker. the cheesemaker. the jeweller. the tailor. the welder. the florist. the theatrical technician. the lumberjack. the carpenter. the cleaner. the painter. the brewer.

many of these are still around, but not in abundance. and while florists are still up and running, how many people do you know who go to school to become a florist? at this point in our world, my generation and the one before it have become so accustomed to the convenience and the practicality of walmart and amazon. and while i will be the last one to argue against amazon, i have to say that there is comfort in purchasing your goods from someone who knows those goods. and i don't just mean in general. i mean those goods. those particular ones you have in your hands. i am blessed to have come from an upbringing that valued working with your hands. my father and his brothers all were/are self-employed in jewelry repair, carpentry, farming, and electricity. and now that i have my own home, pinterest has made me believe that i can do things too! i know how to make a scarf, soap, sugar scrub, candles, lip balm, and envelopes. i want to make my own vanilla, root beer, butters, flavor-infused sugars, and salad dressings. i dream of a world where i buy my dining room table from the person who made it. where i get my dress's rip mended from the person who sewed it. where i get advice on how to not kill my oregano from the one who grew it. and i do not believe that world to be dead. which is why, in my efforts to expand the expertise of my hands, i hope to be a part of keeping that world alive.

not that i expect such things to make a career for me, but what a blessing it is to connect with the creator of our world by doing the very thing that defines our existence? what a blessing it is to always be learning something new about how the tiniest aspects of the world work when you watch how the champagne yeast is fermenting your root beer in your laundry room?

i am encouraged by the pockets of society who continue to keep this going. and you would be surprised to find many of these trades exist quietly in your own backyard. the artisans are coming back. the coffee roaster. the salt harvester. the photographer. the woodworker. the writer. some are blessed to be able to support themselves and their families on these talents, some are not. but for me, i am also blessed by the ability to recognize that art expands far beyond painting and drawing. for me, the only one of my mom's girls without that interest, it feels good.