Monday, September 7, 2009
Today I worked on oat tops. I worked on them some yesterday too. I would take the end tip of the hull and pinch and the seed would pop out. It was easy to do, just tedious and after doing it for 3 hours yesterday and then for another hour and a half it really made my fingers sore.
So far, spending almost 5 hours of removing the seeds from the hull I had pretty much had it. The last half hour of those grueling hours I let my mind drift.
I thought that there had to be a better way of doing this. I thought of the indigenous woman and how they must have sat in groups and worked with the grains of the earth, what they may have talked about. I could almost here them laughing and sharing stories as their fingers worked the grains.
I imagined the elders of the group doing most of the talking and the younger women listening and learning, learning about family, respect, hard work and learning about the place in which they held amongst the elders or this tribe.
What would they discuss, would it be much different then maybe something that we would discuss in a family setting? Maybe not unlike the women of my generation, gathering in the kitchen preparing a feast for extended family around holidays.
While I was dreaming about these woman, these strong women with dust on their feet, sitting in a group close to the ground and with toddlers strapped to them or running about their feet. While my mind wandered and played in the ideas and minds of thee indigenous people, I found myself working with the oats in a different way, I was feeling their texture in my hands, rolling the oats in my fists and smelling the faint aroma.
The oats felt good in my fists and I kept working them, rubbing them against each other and listening to the rustling of them when they wisped away the hulls from the friction. The seeds began to separate and it hit me.
I realized how much quicker this was to separate the seeds, the one seed at a time technique was painful and tedious but rolling the oats in my hands, smelling them, admiring them and enjoying the texture of them was working much better. I thought that this may have been kind of the same technique that these women may have used.
In no time at all, the oats were finished.
Another hour had passed and I finished twice if not 3 times as much then the one seed technique.
So, this day… I visited women from the past and heard their laughter, saw their faces and learned from them… at one point I took the oats to the ground and sat there working with them so that I could feel closer to these women. This experience was enlightening, I feel extremely grateful and blessed and I feel a communion that I didn’t feel before. The more that I work with these plants, the more that I love them. The more I give to them, the more they give back.
Thank you JoAnn Sanchez for allowing me this opportunity.