One of the reasons I don’t watch television during the day is the commercials. Clearly, the people who buy advertising time on network TV (or on niche cable stations) are well aware of the dominant demographic groups watching daytime programming: a) retired people, b) people who might want to sue someone for their injuries, and c) unemployed people. If you regularly watch television between 10 am and 3 pm, you are guaranteed to see commercials for a) retirement communities, wheelchairs, Medicare benefits counselors, financial advising and reverse mortgages; b) lawyers; and c) opportunities to go to school in your pajamas or enroll in a variety of technical training programs that will put you on the road to a new career in an exciting field. One of my favorite examples in that last category is a recurring advertisement for an institution that prepares folks to work in the HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) business. The cheerful voice-over guy repeats several times that an excellent benefit of the job is the chance to work “indoors, OR outside!”
I don’t know why I find that line so funny. The commercial is very purposeful and informative, showing a uniform-clad guy doing his job: opening the doors of his HVAC van, installing vents, inspecting computer displays, and working with lots of tools. Of course, part of the appeal of the “outside” element of his work is that it’s always beautiful and sunny when he’s in someone’s driveway.
For some reason, I thought about that HVAC guy today while I was sitting in traffic. A huge red-tailed hawk was circling above a field, floating effortlessly with its wings fully extended. It was hard to be grouchy about traffic when something that elegant was directly overhead.
It was also hard to be grouchy about traffic because I was on the way to the best kind of outdoors–our CSA farm. Tonight was the first pickup of the season; a definite reason for celebration. When I got to the farm, I was greeted by one of the farmers, who proudly provided me with a gorgeous crate of strawberries, kale, radishes, eggs, collard greens, and lettuce. And then, to make it even better, she pointed me down the path to the newest addition to our share: the pick-your-own herb garden! I came home with a fragrant bouquet of chives, mint, basil, rosemary, and parsley.
Farming in New England is not easy. Farming anywhere is not easy, but around here, with crazy weather patterns, rocky soil, and constant pressure to sell land for development, the dedication of small family farmers is worthy of recognition. Our CSA farm is in at least its fourth generation, using sustainable growing methods, grazing and butchering their animals in a humane manner, and feeding a grateful community in the ways that all people deserve to eat.
Today was a beautiful day at the farm. I spent most of the day indoors at my office, which made the scent of the herb garden and the glow of the sunshine even more appealing when I got out of the car. But for our farmers, this day of being outside came after many days of cold, wet, buggy, muddy, labor-intensive dedication–a reality that probably made today even brighter for them.
So, where would you rather work: indoors, or outside?