Friday, March 06, 2009


Spring is beginning to show itself in the PNW. The trees are budding in the far away sky, and pollen now dusts our cars each morning like facepowder from the hands of a toddler. Writing has taken a back seat to teaching my six year old to read, planning our garden efforts and clearing out, clearing out, clearing out. I feel like we're forever purging.

The economy has not directly hit our interests, but we do have it looming over us. Until April, I will be wondering in the darker recesses of my mind whether this garden is even something we should be concerning ourselves with. One of my favorite garden trinkets, though, is a garden plaque which references the inherent optimism in planting a garden. So I will plant the garden and expect to harvest the fruits of our labours in one fashion or another. The Dalai Lama says "If you have fear of some pain or suffering, you should examine whether there is anything you can do about it. If you can, there is no need to worry about it; if you cannot do anything, then there is also no need to worry." This I am taking to heart and consider it every day.

So while I mean what I say about worry, and while I have in most ways kept a pleasant outlook for the sake of my health and my children's daily life, I still find myself depleted. It takes a lot of energy to keep the sadness and despair at bay. I look around at the state of things locally, where every day I see a new shell where a business had recently thrived; where I read of homeschoolers in common groups putting their children in school so the mothers can take minimum wage jobs so the family can keep the lights on; where people I personally know are losing their home and lying to the kids about why they are moving, in yet another parental attempt to preserve something of a happy childhood for them; it all presses in and makes maintaining a status quo work.

I am not depressed or overtly anxious, but I remain contemplative and far more serious than I would otherwise like to be, with a contrasting and overriding sense of complete gratitude for what we do have, and the options that stretch before us come what may. There has been plenty for me to write about, to share, but I have this sense of survivor's guilt, as if to share it all in my typical blithe revelry would be disrespectful to the many who are hurting so much.

So there it is. The birds are singing, the days are lengthening and I will plug along with a spirit of work, to drive away the idleness of hands that might otherwise make a painful spirit.


  1. A seed exchange sounds great. Please send me details when you've got them.

  2. We are also planting a small garden. Our growing season is short at our elevation, and it is very dry up here, but there are a few things that will grow. I am also laying in canning supplies, and I will buy stuff at the farmer's market in town to can against the coming winter.

    I am glad for the Dalai Lama's saying that you posted. I am printing it out to hang in my office.
    Our personal sadness seems to blend in with the concerns we see around us about what is happening on the larger scale. In an odd sort of way, we are also protected by the fact that New Mexico is not a boom state. Our housing did not bubble and burst, and people here already know how to make do.

  3. A thought provoking post. Sometimes I stay too inside my own bubble. I'm glad I read this. The Dali Lama quote is excellent...and I must agree with your friend above, and print that out.