Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Survival of the fittest (not the cutest)

On our final day in Cleveland, Mom and Dad took us to Lake Erie for some hiking and then out to lunch at Bahama Breeze. With Dad in the midst of wrapping up one job and beginning training for another, Mom loaded up with inspections and teaching training classes, and Joo and I trying hard to go the extra mile to impress a new translation company, it was quite refreshing to take a break for a few days :)

Soon afterwards, as we are now just a week away from closing on our home, we decided to take another jaunt out to Indiana to visit our friends the Stricklers. As an added bonus, John and another friend, Drew, were also headed out West so we saved some gas by carpooling. Along the way, we stopped at the house of a man who supplements his disability income with a permanent garage sale. Joo was elated to find not only a faux wood clock radio (which she really seems to like to collect for some reason) but a big calculating machine that she has dreamed of having for years, each for only a couple dollars.

The Stricklers had a bike trip planned for when we got there, so we loaded ALL the bikes on the car somehow (which somehow struck me as funny when I thought of how a caveman might perceive the vehicle).

At 26 miles round trip, it was a decent length for a bike trip, especially considering Joo's previous experiences with biking. Joo had only been on a bike twice in her adult life: once was in the Atacama Desert of Chile where she was inches from being run off a steep cliff by a semi. The second was a couple weeks ago in our neighbor's driveway going back and forth a couple times to try to get over the fear that had been created in the Atacama. So a 26 mile journey was a bit beyond her comprehension, but she has a knack for tackling her fears and so she went along with the plan.

The 13 miles out to our picnic spot was quite leisurely. We stopped occasionally for tasty foods like berries (above) or Doritos (below).

But by the way home, Joo was beginning to feel her aching muscles a bit more. To add on a little pressure, it was getting dark and we didn't have any type of light source...

At each break (shown below), Joo dismounted with a small yelp and doubted whether she would be able to finish, but she always got back on and kept going (a good choice considering there was no other choice!)
When we arrived back, Wes and Jenny were waiting for us expectantly and Joo promptly collapsed in the grass, exhausted but content :)

On a different night, we accompanied Wes and Jenny to their friends from one of their small groups, Karla, Ryan, and their daughter Izzy. They were delightfully countercultural, some examples being getting married in a cape (which Joo is modeling here with Izzy) and being 75% raw foodists.

There's probably a few definitions for being a raw foodist, but for Karla, Ryan and Izzy it meant eating a vegan diet (like vegetarianism but without eating eggs, milk, cheese, butter, etc.) that was never cooked above 105 degrees Farenheit. This is because the enzymes in fresh fruit, vegetables, etc. apparently break down around that temperature and higher, thus greatly decreasing the health benefits we would get from the food. This may be true but it also poses some difficulties in balance because it means elminating not only animal-related products, but also many types of grains (like rice, wheat, etc.) that need to be cooked to be eaten. Nevertheless, the meal they prepared for us was incredibly delicious and felt very balanced as well. It was raw-foodist lasagna with pasta and salad. Most of the "noodles" were made with creatively sliced zucchini, and the other layers were a delectable combination of fresh veggies, crushed nuts, and some kind of non-heated oils. Dessert was a chocolate-cherry shake with raw cacao (as opposed to the toasted variety we are more familiar with).

Back in the land of animals, the Stricklers were engaged in a debate over three orphaned raccoon cubs that were frolicking around the property. Wes felt they were too young and should be fed and protected until they were old enough to take care of themselves. His parents and grandparents also agreed the coons were cute as babies but were a bit reluctant to allow them to form too much familiarity with the garden.

As I described a few months previously, the Stricklers run a Monday Night Philosophy group and the topic while we were there was watching and discussing the movie Baraka - a haunting and professional audio-enhanced set of video clips from around the world. I've occasionally dreamed about what it would be like to wake up every day as a different person randomly chosen from around the world and to live their life for one day (and then wake up the next day as a completely different person, and so on). I don't know how the videotaping was done unintrusively, but Baraka came close to giving that picture into the sacred parts of people's lives. However, perhaps intentionally, it was glaringly devoid of portraying any human relationships which (to me) gave it a rather isolating and depressing feel, despite the intense beauty of the nature footage.

Riding on the heels of that, I saw a book sitting on Mom's couch, Miracle in the Andes, that was so interesting I read it all the same day. It was about the same event described in the book Alive where the Uruguayan rugby team had crashed and some members survived for over two months by eating dead corpses. However, this book was strikingly different as it was actually told from the perspective of one of the survivors. The author mentioned on several occasions how the raw beauty and power of the Andes Mountains seemed intent on eliminating the "human annoyance" that had disturbed it.
I'm not sure why, but these events served to make me treasure my relationships even more, including my relationship with nature. Speaking of which, I'm finding it increasingly hard to kill bugs, such as the worms crawling on our broccoli plants. Maybe I should become a Jain monk.

1 comment:

  1. are the bugs poisonous? maybe you could eat them?