Monday, May 18, 2009

Can it be that it was all so simple then?

I'm meditating on the Mason jar today.

I remember having Mason jars in the house as a kid. I remember my father canning rice, cereal, and grains in them. We never made preserves, but I remember my parents telling me stories of how their grandmothers would make preserves and can them in Mason jars. It's not uncommon in the South to see people sitting on their porch, drinking lemonade out of Mason jars. Like many black folks, we drank everything out of them. The Mason jar has worn many hats in America's households. They're humble, yet versatile.

The Mason jar, for me, is the quintessential symbol of reusability -- and a perfect example of living green in a simple way. I don't know anyone who's ever thrown away a Mason jar. You always found another use for them, whether it was poking holes in the lid to create a habitat for fireflies or filling it with water, putting a potato in it, and watching the leaves grow into a lovely plant for your kitchen. A lot of our inventiveness for Mason jar uses came out of necessity, as most of us historically didn't have much disposable income and had to find mutliple uses for common household items. People like my family who came from humble beginnings didn't have to "go" green... they were green.

It occurs to me that "going green" isn't about finding what's new. It's about rediscovering what's old. It's about returning to a time before our appetite for convenience led to our pillage of the planet. And for the average person, living a greener life saves money as well as resources, which is important to all of us in this economy. I'm so glad I can enjoy the luxuries my family enjoys today. I'm thankful to God that I have more disposable income than my parents had at my age. I'm glad we can live in a nice home, drive nice cars, and have a mutlitude of conveniences at our fingertips. But I don't want any of that to come at the detriment of my family or the planet's health. So if giving up a few shortcuts here and there means we're all better for it, then it's more than worth it to me.

I think we have a lot to left to learn from the Mason jar.

4 comments:

Kirsten said...

My grandparents had a collection of them. What a wonderful reminder. As someone who hasn't made the conversion and is looking for ways to as you say "go green", it's great to know that the adjustments aren't revolutionary. I'll be meditating with you and hopefully making more of a committment to do more. Thanks as always...

kelaine_2 said...

Mason jars are the bomb. They keep things fresh, especially jelly beans:-D Yep, that what is currently in my jars

dlmoore02 said...

I found out about mason jars while researching how to make applesauce for scratch. Then I started to notice people drinking from them and everything!

Whitney said...

Big ups to the mason jar! My dad is NOTORIOUS for drinking out of them. My mom could have prepared a 5 course meal and set out all the good china and silverware and crystal glasses, but what does my daddy want at his setting? That's right a big ole country mason jar to drink out of! Its hilarious!