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Pio Pios

So here I begin, with a reflection on beginnings. Just over a year ago, my family and I moved to Eugene, Oregon, from Austin, Texas. There were many reasons for this move--proximity to my parents, the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest, the ability to grow food--but for me, this new beginning was also rooted in the pio pios.

When my son, Ian, was one year old, we had a book from the library which had animals found on a farm with pictures and the corresponding words in Spanish. When we got to the page with the baby chicks, I told him "pio pios" is how you say "baby chicks" in Spanish. Ian's eyes opened wide, he pointed at the chicks as he said "pio pios," and laughed and laughed his rollicking baby laughter. We never looked at the rest of the book, but kept it open to the page of the pio pios for two weeks, laughing together whenever we saw or remembered the baby chicks.

That evening, when Ian was asleep, I went downstairs and wrote on a piece of paper "pio pios," and placed it in an empty basket with a lid. This became our family's wish basket, and through our time in that small apartment and later in our house in Austin, never was another wish entered. It was as if we realized somehow that once we had a space and a place for the baby chicks, all our other wishes for a life that was life-giving would be underway.

As it turns out, we were right. After six years, Ian got his pio pios, which you can see on our Chicken T.V. Ian takes the video of the chicks himself, and tells me he plans to record them as they grow up, having his Daddy put new episodes up periodically.

It's a bit embarrassing to realize that the pio pios guided me to a new life in Oregon, but, well, they did. Anything that brings such joy to my boy gets my attention like nothing else. Sure, there are all kinds of good adult reasons that we threw it all over and moved here--reduced consumption, "be the change you wish to see in the world," reading the books Last Child In the Woods and Radical Homemakers, to name a few.

But it's really that laughter that kept me going, and on point, through the years. And that's an important insight. You can't fuel the hard work of rebuilding a life on a diet of "oughts" and "shoulds." You can know all the "right" things to do for our planet, or for yourself and your family, but find yourself unable to act. Without the bubbling spring of delight and enjoyment, the seed of the pios pios would have found only inhospitable, rocky ground, and been unable to take root in my life.

In other words, notice and cultivate the joys of your life. It may be the beginning of something new.



What a beautiful blog, and with such thoughtful and lovely writing! I'm so glad that Ian's wish for pio pios brought you here.

Isn't it wonderful how delight and joy can lead us towards the things that we know are best for us? You've really captured a truth of parenting and teaching in that sentiment.

Best of luck at the market and with all your adventures, simple and otherwise!