By Peter Schaller
This year I will turn 50.
I don’t pay much attention to age and when people ask if I am bothered by aging (or insinuate that I should be), I usually grin, shake my head and say “no, because the alternative is not so great”. The truth is, I feel a lot better at 49 ½ than I did in my 20’s, when life was one relentless party, paycheck-to-paycheck, edge to precipitous edge. In fact, after some of the absurd and unnecessary things we did back them, I am, quite honestly, glad to be still walking around on this earth.
The one thing about aging though is a mounting sense of urgency.
I don’t really know how much time I have left and that unpredictable nature of mortality compels me to take advantage of every minute. With so much to do in this life, I am completely baffled by the concept of boredom. Death has been lurking close by this last year, sneaking off with friends and loved ones before their time—at least in my unschooled opinion. Time and death are happy cohorts though, an undefeatable duo.
With that in mind, I decided to launch this column, The Green Table, partly to keep busy and partly to share some of the things I have learned since 1969.
I have always been the “jack of all trades, master or none” type, but there are certain areas on which I have focused more attention. I have spent quite a bit of time studying environmental issues, climate change and low impact living. A large part of that is the production, processing and consumption of food. Hence, the green.
Healthy living and eating are critical to our future, no doubt. I have never been partial or patient enough to wait around for governments and corporations to create viable solutions to climate change. We have one chronic illness on this planet that is leading to the destruction of our climate, natural resources, communities and our bodies— consumption. At The Green Table, we will explore many ways in which we can each change our consumption patterns in order to lessen our impact on the planet.
Before I got involved in community development work, I was a carpenter.
My grandfather built houses his whole life and my love of tools and building started in his basement in Manchester, Connecticut. Throughout my life, I have kept my tools close by and continue to create with wood. In recent years, I have limited myself to working almost exclusively with recycled wood from pallets and construction sites. My love for woodworking is as much about the creative process as it is about making practical items.
I am particularly fond of making tables.
Tables are central to the lives of people in many cultures around the globe. We sit at tables to share meals, to talk, meet, work, plan, celebrate and mourn. Tables are places for building family and community. Obviously, not only good things happen at tables, but darkness is as much a part of life as light. Hence, the table in The Green Table.
It will also be a place to explore creativity as an essential element of balanced living.
The Green Table may also be a space for exploring politics, parenting, faith, recipes, world events, gardening and much more. My hope is to create a virtual table with space for everyone, where all opinions and beliefs are valid and respected. Everyone is welcome to pull up a chair, pour a cup of coffee and join the conversation.
Editor: Dana Gornall