Sunday, May 22, 2016

You're Grounded

Today (Saturday) was a good day.It's always nice to start a paragraph like that, right? Serena had a volleyball game, and from there we went to the  Dyescape garden for  their volunteer day. Who knew that what we all needed was to put our hands deep into some dirt, and make some new connections? 
Reading about Dyescape (Anchal's) mission (found here) really resonated with me. Years ago, I read a book called, "Where Am I Wearing?",a book that detailed the lives of those in other countries who make our clothes. It was not pretty, and on one trip to Georgia, where I saw an abandoned textile mill, I was told that the process was so toxic and there were so many political complications that those mills were shut down. But the equipment and toxic processes were shipped overseas. So nothing changed in that except geography, and now instead of Americans being affected,Chinese were exposed to health complications. This was touched on in the book, and I've taken that with me ever since. 

From Anchal's website: 

Globally, humans consume about 80 billion new pieces of clothing every year, which is 400% more than the amount we consumed just 20 years ago. With the rise of consumption comes an alarming rate of discarded clothing. The average American now generates 82 pounds of textile waste annually, totaling more than 11 million tons. In addition, the textile industry is the 2nd largest polluter on the planet followed by oil. The harsh chemicals released during industrial dyeing damages aquatic systems and make drinking water dangerous.

It grounded and sobered me to be reminded how our choices affect others and our beautiful land. It's one of the reasons I get my clothes at Goodwill and thrift stores. It's why I compost and try to save energy and have my own garden and buy from farmers and am snobbish about my fair trade organic chocolate. And every year, I have plant dyed 100 skeins of yarn for school. 
However, this year, I was weighing the environmental impact of plant dyeing versus synthetic dyeing. The synthetic dyes I use are low-impact in that the dye is completely absorbed into the fabric and it uses so much less water than plant-dyeing.
Still, my heart is with the colors and challenge of the plants. And in helping with the dye garden at Dyescape, I felt such a sense of connection to the earth and to others that it seemed silly to give up plant dyeing. Just get a couple of rain barrels, I told myself. Being in touch with the soil for a larger purpose just FELT good.

My kids were none too thrilled about going until they, too, got their hands dirty and found a frog and a mulberry tree, and therefore, found happiness and connection,too.

When I'm feeling a little lost, reconnecting to this  land, this soil, helps me remember who I am,and who I am in relationship to other people. And lately there has been a lot of lost soul-wandering as I traverse the realms of grief and moral injury. Yet here is this soil, ever true, ever solid, always giving. Here are these plants, these cycles of growth and giving life. This is something I can rely on.
It always comes back to my hands, this grounding. My hands which are used to heal, comfort, make, and connect. My hands which connect me with myself and others. My hands which can do good,solid work and can bring beauty. My  hands,which nurture my sense of how I touch the world and how I touch others.

With this work, I'm grounded.

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