August 15th, 2009
One of my favorite bumper stickers of all time reads: “Where are we going? And why are we in this hand basket?”
Frequently, one glance at the day’s headlines can convince you that, regardless of the means of transit, our society is on its way to the abyss. But should you ever start feeling like that, I suggest you put down the newspaper and head out to the nearest Saturday farmer’s market. It’s good for the soul.
I like any farmer’s market, really, but the weekday ones have a different feel. Most people are stopping on their way home from work, and they’re on a mission: get food for dinner then get home and cook it. They have a plan and they execute. Corn, tomatoes, green beans and out. No wasting time.
But on a Saturday morning, it’s a different ball game. Our town has a particularly fine Saturday market that is nestled into downtown. Farmers set up their stands along the main drag so you can pop in and out of shops while you’re picking up your produce, fresh baked goods, happy free-range meats, and locally produced salsa.
No one’s in a hurry at ten o’clock on a Saturday. Customers meander, farmers chat, dogs on leashes stop to be petted and admired. Lots of babies do the same. It’s a good scene.
Miss Mouse and I have made a foray to the market for the last three Saturday’s in a row and it’s been bliss. Usually we go just the two of us after she wakes up from a mid-morning nap. We pick up some veggies and then stop for an iced chai at the local coffee shop. We sit outside in front of the shop and watch the world go by. Today she stood on my lap for a solid ten minutes, facing out to the street and waving majestically at anyone who happened by. Runners waved back as they pounded past, dogs licked our fingers and offered to share our blueberry bagel, other moms with babies paused to compare notes on strollers and baby gear.
No bombs went off. No murders were committed. No environmental disasters befell. I didn’t hear so much as a raised voice in two hours. I defy you to be pessimistic about the quality of the human condition after a morning like that.