We got kind of a late start today, lounging around Haley's house while she prepared her kids to go berry picking. Haley's life provides a great excuse to talk about geography and life choices.
Haley grew up on the Sante Fe River just outside of Gainesville. Her husband Scott is still in school studying some kind of science, and they got married young and had kids young. They moved out to Port Townsend because Scott got into school, and they moved from one corner of the country to the other, far away from their families to raise their own little family.
Haley's house is kind of a dream. She has her laundry strung up in her backyard between the apple trees and the garden. She has kombucha fermenting all over the kitchen counter to bottle up and barter with at the farmers market. Sometimes she goes a full week without driving her car, and her kids don't have real toys, just collections of marbles, pieces of chalk and whatever else they find worthy to be "treasure". She watches other people's kids part time to make a little money, and does some marketing work for the lady down the block, but other than that she spends most of her time with her family.
They just moved to Washington less than a year ago, and the town they happened to pick has a Waldorf school that Kepler loves; five yoga studios where Haley teaches and takes classes; local EVERYTHING like bakeries, cafes, co-op, and other start ups. She wanted to buy a big boy bike for Kepler but she checked with the local Buy Nothing Club and traded for one instead. Nevermind she lives in a place where summertime temperatures rarely breach 85 degrees, the punishment for smoking marijuana in public is $27, and she has easy access to both the ocean and the mountains. She said the only thing she misses about Florida is thunderstorms and evening frog choruses.
I don't live Haley's life, so there's probably a lot going on other than what I saw in my small glimpse. But I do often think about how life might be if it wasn't so hard. So far the West Coast has been this dreamworld of ease, where people care about the things I care about, like riding bikes, organic agriculture, and local businesses. I can emphatically say that hardly anyone in Florida cares about those things, and it makes life there hard.
I have chosen to live in a place that's hard. It makes me feel like the work I do matters a little more since there are so few people doing it where I live. There are less than 200 certified organic farms in Florida, a state where agriculture is the second biggest industry after tourism. It would be so easy to pick up and live in Seattle and never have to walk more than a quarter mile to a health food store or ride without bike lanes. It gives me a lot to think about at this crossroads in my life.
I keep that all I want is to buy a house and have a perennial garden with herbs and fruit trees that I'll never have to uproot again. But I keep making decisions that put me further and further away from that vision. I have at least two or three more years before I will be able to picture what my life will look like for the long term.
Basically the point of this is it looks like Haley made some good choices for her life by moving where it's easy, and though I don't know if those same choices would make me happy, it would certainly by nice if Florida were medium hard instead of just plain hard.