Saturday, February 3, 2007

A Little Bit of Thinking....

The boys and I walked to the post office yesterday. It was that perfect melding of having something we needed to do (mail packages) and doing something we like to do (walk).

The boys balanced on curbs and jumped off raised dividers. They ran, they skipped...they just had a lot of fun. As it does often, my mind went to that place where I see their activities as integrating their senses. And then whoa...I realized how disintegrating that is.

I had been reading about how we've stopped eating food and now we eat nutrients packaged in the form of non-food. It was a Michael Pollan article entitled Unhappy Meals. He is, you know, the guy who wrote The Omnivore's Dilemma. I haven't read his book yet, because it has been checked out and overdue a the library (just's available now), and because I decided to read Peter Singer's new book, The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter, first. (Yes, that is a commercial link. Please feel free to borrow the book from a library or local friend, or to buy it used. But even Compacters must remember that some writing is an art and deserves to be purchased.)

His main point is that we should eat food, real food, and mostly plants, and more leaves than seeds, and a diverse selection, and...well, you need to read the article because I think any of his ideas taken out of context and away from the whole ruins the whole picture.

So I was thinking about sensory integration. Why is it a problem now? What is different? We were walking, which meets a lot of sensory needs (and certainly now I understand why kids jump off things and climb things and hang on railings...all things I see every child do, and most parents get exasperated by). We were also being assaulted by a lot of other sensory input. Vehicles zooming past us (going much faster than the posted speed limit). The changing stop light. The hum of electrical wires.

It drowns everything else out, everything that is real! Birds and bees, breezes in the trees, barking dogs, the sound of our feet. The air pollution hides the sky, the noise pollution hides the true aural environment.

Perhaps that is why nature is so restorative; it is real. We see and feel and hear what we are meant to hear as human beings.

Eat real food, food your great-great grandmother would recognize (I have to go pretty far back for that, to the mid-1800s. Please don't take that out of context; my g-g-grandmother wouldn't recognize factory eggs or corn-fed beef. She wouldn't have had animal products as the main part of every meal. How simple is it. Eat food. Everything else Pollan has to say relates back to that (cook, garden, eat less...all things g-g-grandmother did).

Get real sensory input. Get out in nature. Play. Find a quiet place. Turn off as many electrical appliances as you can, and eliminate the hum of the computer, the printer, the TiVo, as well as the more obvious background sounds like TV, radio, etc. When you mean to listen or to watch give it your full attention. And by all means, make real music. Sing! If you can't stop the hum of a refrigerator find a place in your home where you can stop the noises. Have a quiet, low-electricity room you can retreat to. Light a candle.

Anyway, like I said, I was just doing a little bit of thinking. Nothing is fully formed here. It's just another step for me, away from the things that aren't real. As always, it stands to turn my world upside down.

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