Day 26: A Book that Changed Your Opinion
“The single greatest lesson the garden teaches is that our relationship to the planet need not be zero-sum, and that as long as the sun still shines and people still can plan and plant, think and do, we can, if we bother to try, find ways to provide for ourselves without diminishing the world. ”
I thought this prompt would be incredibly taxing to write to. I'm not sure that we're always aware of our ever-changing minds, or the way our feelings and opinions wax and wane while learning from every aspect of our daily existence. Certainly we become aware of our changed thinking, but only after a certain amount of reflection.
I used to barista at the most lovely coffee shop in the entire world, River Rock Coffee in St. Peter, MN. With a strong focus on local product, sustainability, and high quality, River Rock was not only my favorite place to be throughout college, but, perhaps, where I did the most learning and growing as a human being. In many ways, River Rock as a community, as a school of thought, was responsible for the overhaul of my person. Still, there were a few books that assisted them along the way.
Michael Pollan's Food Rules and The Omnivore's Dilemma were equally helpful in changing how I felt about food, about extracting resources from our planet, about being a responsible human being for my own benefit and the benefit of others. Omnivore is a critical look at food through four different facets, the most influential being 'Personal,' while Food Rules is a comparatively simple, numerical list of different rules when it comes to food, sourcing, and eating. Quick and insightful reads, both of Pollan's works have helped shape how I interact with our planet's resources for nourishment.
Spoiler Alert (or maybe it should say Warning!): I'm going to get personal today.
When I was in early high school, a relative of mine came to live with us. My parents took her out of a halfway house to get her out of the big city. She was addicted to meth. The city wasn't helping. At first, I had no problem with living with her and her little addiction quirks. But things got aggravating after awhile. Her little "quirks" became big problems for me having to share the basement living space with her. Don't get me wrong, I still loved her very much, but I couldn't get past her clepto habit, or the way she always had to know what I was doing as if she were paranoid. I labeled her an addict and that is all she became to me.
And then I read Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man by Bill Clegg. Clegg leaves nothing out of his memoir. It's the graphic, dizzying, and sometimes disgusting truth of what addiction does to a person. What it causes a person to do just to get a high. There were so many times when reading it that I had to put it down because it was so graphic, but there was no doubt that 10 minutes later I was picking it back up again. Clegg only seeks to tell the truth about his addiction, to give a powerful glimpse into the world, and he leaves the reader with tears in their eyes. The majority of addicts follow the same basic plot line with their struggle with drugs, and I will no longer label someone as just an addict. There's almost always a much deeper explanation to their addiction.
(P.S. I would highly recommend this book and the sequel memoir, Ninety Days.)