It was a slightly chilly, but gloriously sunny day on the Oregon Coast. We got the kids dressed and got out into the yard and garden. Everything was in the first stages of spring beginning. My husband Mark was excited to get a window to mow down the spring grass before it got out of control.
In the middle of a deep patch he turned off the mower and yelled up at me, “Do you think it would help your campaign if everyone knew that their next Lincoln County Commissioner liked to do her own yard work?”
I smiled, “It would help, but honesty demands that I admit that I hate mowing – that’s your job.”
He smiled and laughed and I turned my attention to the winter beets. They were beautiful, enormous, and ready to harvest. As I pulled them the smell of the earth mixed with with the fresh mown grass was intoxicating.
A garden is important to me. As a little girl I enjoyed working with my dad in our huge family garden. His love for working with the earth and harvesting food has followed me into my adulthood and is something I now share with my children.
Noble, our 3 year old helped me load the beet bounty into baskets. The abundance we had just pulled out of our family garden was stunning. I noticed another little set of hands reaching for the beet and was struck by a crash of contrasts. We’ve been fostering a little 16-month old girl for the last few weeks. She came to us with a lot of food security issues and had obviously suffered from a significant level of neglect. I’m guessing she had never seen a beet, or worked in the garden with her family, or smelled the fresh dirt. The deep connection I felt to the earth through working in the garden was something that she hadn’t experience until now. I was grateful that in the short time she’d be with our family that she’d know these things and more critically know the deep sense of well-being that comes from a constant source of healthy food.
When I looked at her little hands wrapped around a beet almost bigger than she was I thought about statistics that have burned themselves into my head – all the children and families in Lincoln County that struggle with poverty, food security and addiction. I ‘do something’ by about those issues by bringing a child into my home and loving and feeding them. As County Commissioner I want to reach into these critical issues and do even more.
My husband and I have a very close relationship. He saw me with the babies and the beets and seemed to know what I was thinking. He came up behind me, kissed me on the head and said quietly, “Do you think it would help your campaign if everyone knew how badly their next County Commissioner wanted every child in the county to have enough food to eat?”