The Independence Farmer's Market is 5 miles from my house. The Overland Park Farmer's Market is 24 miles from my house. I drive to Overland Park nearly every Saturday morning.
The vegetables are the same—asparagus and lettuce and spinach right now. Herbs. Spring onions. Beets. But the Independence market is set up in a parking lot in a derelict part of town. Some people smoke and others drag their oxygen canisters. I rarely see anyone else under 60.
The Overland Park market has a lovely green shed roof and the vendors line both sides of a boulevard in a lovely part of town. Smoking is not allowed. Hanging baskets sway in the breeze. On a ivy-covered brick plaza nearby, musicians play jazz or zydeco or folk songs. Old people in lawn chairs watch small children twirl til they fall down. Young mothers smile indulgently at their kids and the old people.
It's hard to justify adding so much to my carbon footprint each week. (Living alone in a house the size of mine puts me deep in a carbon hole as it is.) But I do it anyway. The music and the atmosphere and the sights and sounds and colors feed my soul. This morning, a small old woman made the trip worthwhile. Her dandelion-fluff white hair stood out against the red canvas lawn chair she sat in, and the red-and-yellow piping on her t-shirt stood out against the prominent blue veins on her neck and arms. Her smile was a living thing, growing with each child who joined the dance in the center of the plaza.
In exchange for the drive, I get musicians sharing their talents, the smell of fresh basil filling the warm car, a warm cherry-and-almond scone.
Yesterday, my neighbor angel, the dear, dear friend without whom I would not have survived the post-divorce drama, was told the cancer has spread from her breast to her lymph nodes. She will have to undergo chemotherapy.
There is nothing I can do but pray and take joy in all things, no matter how small. As our visor-wearing friend the Dali Lama says, the purpose of the life is to be happy. That's not always as easy as it sounds. Or else it's much easier than we think. I never can quite decide which.
All blessings to you my dearest Cathie. My prayers are with you today and always.
All you need is love (and some damn good drugs).