Earth Day, Eco Fashion, natural beauty, nature, Oregon, organic skincare, PNW, sustainability, sweet skins, travel & Lifestyle, Uncategorized
Honoring Earth Day – Ohio Roots. Oregon Heart.
Today as we celebrate Earth Day, I am reflecting on how moving to Eugene, Oregon from the Midwest 18 years ago changed me as a person and exposed me to a whole new lifestyle. One might say that in Eugene, every day is Earth Day. I have learned so much about organics, community, sustainability, progressive ideals, acceptance and last but not least, myself. As I started to really think about the path that led me to the point where I am now, I realized that many of the things that became so important to me after moving to the West Coast were planted as seeds in my rural, Midwestern roots. This is a perfect time for me to reflect on this right now, as I prepare to have a full-circle moment when I relocate to Columbus, Ohio coming up in June.
I grew up in New London, Ohio. When I say it was a rural town, I mean VERY rural. It had one stop light in the middle of town and a population of roughly 2,500 people. I could cut through my neighbor’s lawn and cross the main road that ran through town and be at my Grandma’s house. Right next door to my grandmother’s house was my great-grandmother’s house. It was a beautiful brick farmhouse that had a big barn on the property and acres of farmland behind it. I remember taking tractor rides with my grandfather and exploring the farm as a little girl. My mom came from a family or farmers. My father’s side of the family, well they were more of the entrepreneur type. First selling farm equipment, then opening up a car dealership, Burk Chevrolet, and then an insurance agency, Burk Insurance.
There was one super small grocery store in New London and to this day it’s still the only one there. I visited this grocery store the last time I was there and I realized just how spoiled I have been by the availability of organic food in Eugene. Because I grew up in a farming community, there were certainly a lot of ways to get local produce from farmers in the area. In fact, some of my favorite memories are sitting on the back porch in the summer time, shucking corn with my mom and dad that they would pick up from my friend’s father out of the back of his pick-up. My parents also started a nice sized garden at one point during my childhood and I remember growing green beans, tomatoes, peas and green peppers. I loved helping mom and dad till the garden and harvesting the food. My dad and I would also travel to Amish Country on the weekend to pick up eggs and maple syrup.
So although I had a great introduction to growing your own food and what it meant to buy local, Eugene really introduced me to the world of organic food and how important it is to pay attention to what we are putting in (and on) our bodies. In my time on the West Coast, I have gained such appreciation for farm-to-table foods, eco-fashion, organic skin care products, holistic doctors & healers, connecting with the majestic outdoors and understanding how our everyday choices impact this earth.
One of the first moments that I realized how much the landscape of West Coast will forever change my heart, is when I traveled HWY 101 along the California and Oregon coast when coming to Eugene. What I saw made my jaw drop to the ground and I was in absolute wonder of how different the landscape was from anything that I had ever seen on the other side of the country. My first several years I was always off adventuring, traveling to all kinds of different hiking trails, waterfalls, swimming holes, beaches, and exploring the vast nature that Oregon has to offer. These experiences changed me. I felt a stronger connection to the earth and had a deeper appreciation for protecting these natural treasures.
As I get ready to head back to the midwest, I look forward to returning to my Ohio Roots but I will also be carrying my Oregon roots of the last 18 years with me. I get to explore new places, try new food, find new ‘hills’ to hike, meet new people and make new memories. What is beautiful about this earth is that there are so many nooks and crannies to explore. Each area has a beauty of its own. I hope that today and always, you take a moment to cherish what it means to be a part of this earth. It’s amazing how much nature can teach us about what is inside of ourselves and provide us with such incredible gifts.