Though I currently live in Saint Petersburg, Florida, I grew up in a small West Texas town with a population of approximately 4,000. — I couldn’t wait for my high school graduation so I could hit the road for the “Big City” and never look back.
Well, I did hit the road–visiting and exploring many large cities and urban settings. –The bright lights and fast pace were fun for a while, but quickly I became disillusioned. Now, I look back and realize how blessed I truly was in my upbringing.
My family lived on a 500 acre ranch–tucked back in the woods, several miles from town. The meat we ate came from the cattle, hogs, and chickens we raised–all of which were free range. Many of our vegetables came straight from my grandmother’s large food garden, which I–along with my siblings and cousins– helped to tend.
My fondest childhood memories include bareback horse riding; following the streams which snaked through our land; catching frogs and crawdads; collecting fireflies; painting faces around a campfire, and late night cat-fishing with my father.
In addition to all this, I had a secret hideaway along a pond canal, where I would go and sit on a huge stone slab and tell all my secrets to an old Mesquite tree; and then I would sit quietly and wait for its reply. I would sit for hours and just listen… to the trees, to the birds, to the the winds, to Nature. Places like this, experiences like these–this is what many cities lack. Not to mention local, healthy, affordable food. But we can change that.
My studies and experiences have lead me to realize that through such endeavors as urban farming, CSA’s, placemaking, and the utilization of various permaculture techniques and renewable energies, Nature can be infused into our cities. In doing so, we have the potential to raise awareness regarding how nature supports us and how and why we should use our resources more wisely.
This could spur a movement towards conscious evolution–a desire for humankind to live the most sustainable, regenerative lifestyle possible, so that we might endure long enough to live up to our fullest potential (whatever that might reveal itself to be).
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(**Please note that my professional massage license MA77806 is listed under my legal name, Barbara Matthews.)