Local Strawberries slowly simmered into jam, dill pickles in a jar, a lovingly sewn and embroidered patch on our jeans, a moth hole creatively darned on our fav sweater, and even our own inner calm, “preserving” is our way of making things – flavors to feelings, last. It's an act of mindful intent (trust us on that!) and there’s no better time to think of all the ways we can preserve things in our life, than in the cooler, darker, days of Fall.
Let’s take a look.
PRESERVING THE MEANINGFUL IS BEING MINDFUL
There is preservation of things - plants, vegetables, buildings, fabrics. But there is also the preservation of self – that which makes all other things possible. Within a calm mind and body, the spirit bends towards what’s worth saving in life. Being mindful about waste, or yearning to save something precious, you lean towards what matters. A few thoughts:
PRESERVING THE BASIC NECESSITIES (AND FLAVORS)
It used to be that people preserved out of necessity, salting meats, jarring vegetables, and since preserving takes time, and effort, today we do it less out of necessity and perhaps more for the way it binds us to our domestic heritage. Confits, berry-rich jams, marmalades, zingy pickles, even the crumble or purees you make from windfall apples, all these represent what our earth and seasons give us – thus the act of preservation is, in the most mindful of ways, an act of appreciation.
PRESERVING THE WEARABLES
Preserving sometimes means keeping things intact and safe or giving them a second life. Our woolen coats and sweaters are preserved by careful washing and caretaking and most often by storing them with cedar blocks or sprigs of lavender to deter moths. But preserving our clothes has also given rise to a whole new community of designers and waste-minded individuals who upcycle by bringing odds and ends together to make whole new wearables. It’s a craft, for sure, but it’s also at its heart, a preservation.
PRESERVING OUR PAST
Stories, myths and legends are part of our cultural preservation but they can also be personal. Verbal and written, the stories passed down through generations are a part of those things worth keeping. We preserve them in our hearts and memories or written in our journals so that our family and cultural narratives live on. This fall, listen carefully, and begin your own story gathering.
PRESERVING OUR CALM
Done mindfully, all acts of preservation - however small - have the potential to slow us down and calm us. The consciously precise chop-chopping and dicing of vegetables, or evening spent carefully reworking a worn but favourite wearable helps remove us at least temporarily from the noise of life, and bring a sense of calm - and personal achievement - with it.
PICKLES, PATCHES AND MINDFUL INTENT
In summation, next time you sit down quietly to creatively darn that moth-eaten but much-loved cashmere sweater, or make a chutney out of the green tomatoes that never ripened, do it mindfully, calmly and then, in the spirit of preservation, let the good feelings that follow, last.