Today after work, I stopped at White Barn Farm (www.whitebarnfarm.org) for my produce. Shopping at White Barn Farm (WBF) is my Friday after work ritual, along with shopping at Whole Foods, (which as previously mentioned, I affectionately refer to as Whole Paycheck). When I arrived at the WBF, the place was hopping. I arrived about 45 minutes before closing time (7 p.m.). The sun was low in the sky, casting a red dusky hue. I filled up my WF reusable shopping bag and stood in line awaiting my turn to pay. As I stood there, I noticed all the people who work at the farm were preparing to pack up the farm stand. The owners of WBF are a young 30-something couple who recently wed this past July. They are you quintessential crunchy, nuts & granola couple – adorable! As I stood there, I found myself staring at one particular farm worker: a woman, in her mid 30s. I was gob struck by how fit and muscular she was, but not in the way you might think. She was sinewy. I could immediately tell her muscular body wasn’t a result of many hours spent in the gym; on the contrary, it was due to the physical aspect of her job working on the farm. She had that v-taper, strong wide shoulders, with a broad back. It was the type of body you would have if you did what she does for a living. As I watched her lifting heavy boxes of produce, loading up a truck, I also noticed how tan she was. At that moment, I began to survey the other farm workers. I noticed they too were all in incredible shape, not gym rat shape, rather, you could tell they had difficulty keeping weight on. They were muscular, lean and tan, but not the kind of tan you see from someone who spends hours on the beach and time in a tanning bed. The type of tan these farm workers had was the type of tan you would see on a heavy construction worker. It is that kind of tan you get when you perform hard labor, in the sun; it was a sun mixed with salty sweat tan. Call me crazy, but there is a difference. These people were not orangey tan, they had a cocoa brown color that said healthy, not Shake ‘n Bake.
Anyway, back to where my head was at. As I was staring at these workers, I couldn’t help but notice how healthy and happy they were. Everyone was joking, smiling, all the while loading up the trucks with boxes of produce from the farm. Without realizing it, I was staring mostly at the woman I mentioned above. I was so taken in by how how healthy and fit she was, that I just couldn’t take my eyes off of her. Now, I don’t mean this in a lesbian way, not that there’s anything wrong with lesbians. I like lesbians. They are not bamboozled by men the way we straight women are. But I digress… Because I was staring so intently, she took notice. She gave me a big smile and said, “Hi.” Snapping out of my reverie, I said, “Hi.” back, giving her a big toothy smile. And then I felt embarrassed. She took it in stride, continuing on with her work.
There wasn’t an ounce of fat on one person who worked at that farm. Although the owners are not vegan, they only eat meat and poultry from a local farmer up in Vermont, who sets up shop every Friday at the Farm Stand. The owners told me, the only time they venture into Whole Foods is to buy pantry items and/or items they do not grow (such as lemons). There is something to be said for people who live off the land. They appear to be completely, utterly sublime. Isn’t it funny that 300 years ago, we all used to live like that? My how far we have come. I often question if progress is always a good thing.
Imagine how healthy everyone would be right now, if we all had to work in the fields, growing our own food, raising our own farm animals instead of sitting behind a desk, pushing paper and slogging our guts out in a gym. Imagine? It blows my mind to think that the only exercise some people get, either walking to/from their car every morning and evening or the exercise they participate in at the gym. I would bet, the folks who work at WBF probably never step foot inside the steel construct of a gym, and yet they looked healthier than any gym rat I’ve ever seen. Put them toe-to-toe with any trainer and these farm workers would blow any Mr. Joe Universe out of the water. Where Joe U. may have in size Mr. Farm Worker has in s-t-a-m-i-n-a. Hey, don’t get me wrong, I’m just as guilty. Back in my early 20s a friend convinced me to join a gym. Not long after joining I met an All Natural Bodybuilder, who will remain nameless but will be given the name Dude for this blog post. I approached Dude. I told him I wanted to look like him — muscular — thinking back to the photos I had once seen as a kid of
she is, click on the link above. Lisa is one of the first female bodybuilders. So Dude happily took me on as a disciple of bodybuilding, teaching me everything I needed to know about food, diet, training. I was hooked on bodybuilding. I poured through Muscle & Fitness magazines becoming a huge fan/follower of Sharon Bruneau (Love her!) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharon_Bruneau I have to give Dude his props, he changed my body. I looked great but psychologically I wasn’t happy. Three years later, after the novelty bodybuilding wore off, I parted ways with Dude, continuing on with the gym minus the bodybuilding focus. Since that time, I have been a gym rat going through cycles of being diligent for, say… 6 months, then slacking a bit for a couple, then getting back on the wagon, so on and so forth. That is the way my life has been in regards to exercise. I went to the gym because I had to, not necessarily because I enjoyed it. Don’t misunderstand, I love exercise. What I hate is the drudgery of the gym. I hate that whole atmosphere and yet I go and have gone for years. If you were to offer me a lifetime trainer, all expenses paid at the gym, I’d have to say, “No thanks.” It’s not where my heads at. I’m all about being healthy and fit, but I’m not going to do what I used to do and that was spend 6 days a week in the gym. Fuck that! I take ballet 2x a week which satisfies my psyche as well as my body and I hit the gym 2x a week spending 1 hour — that’s it. That said, I always make it a point to walk, take the stairs, etc… The rest of the time, I focus on soul searching — trying to be a better person, reading and learning as much as I can about various topics of interest. I also work on my spirituality. I talk to God almost every day. He’s the dude I rely on the most. Now, if you were to offer me a chance to work outdoors, doing something constructive, like farming, which would keep me in shape, yet not being the sole focus, then hey, I’m on board!
How I envied those farm workers. They all appeared so utterly satisfied and happy. I could tell they loved what they were doing and it fulfilled them. How freakin’ awesome is that? Although I am happy with my job and I love my boss, I cannot say that my career fulfills me. That’s why I take ballet. Have become a vegan. Involve myself with animals rights. Volunteering to help animals via donating money or fostering, as well as finding ways to reduce my carbon footprint. These things fulfill me.
So why the title Farm Worker vs. Gym Rat? Because if we all had to work for our food, we would be by far, better off, healthier and probably happier. The earth would be too. I have read that people who garden are happier psychologically. Apparently, there is something about working with the earth, being outside in the fresh air that does our mental well being some good. My goal next spring is start my own garden. If you live nearby, and lack the land to grow your own garden, but would like to, give me a ring, maybe we can work something out where we combine efforts and split the cost.
Something to think about…
Until next time…
Next Post: as promised I will blog about how bottle caps, as well as lids to jars cannot be recycled.