Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Frayed, But Still Trying

Now here's an exciting picture, eh? Well, not all that exciting, I know, but it made me happy enough. This is Maia's jack-o-lantern - or what remained of it. I cooked and froze it and Eve's, since we carved them Halloween day and they were just fine to cook they next day. I managed to get just over 4 quarts of pumpkin cooked, pureed and frozen. We've already enjoyed some pumpkin muffins and some Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread. I also enjoyed just eating some hot with Earth Balance and salt on it. I prefer roasting pumpkin to steaming or boiling it, as it gives mild pumpkin a slightly richer flavor. I find doing either of the other to leave it a bit too watery for my taste. The pumpkins weren't local, but at least they didn't go to waste!

This week finds me kind of burning the candle at both ends and has me planning for a Sabbath proper. I have been needing to better guard my Sabbath rest; I have not been doing a good job of it and I am feeling frayed around the edges. For me, this will mean even passing up fellowship this Sunday; staying home from church to read and pray and just rest. I am looking forward to it.

Feeling frayed has led to feeling crabby and something I have been feeling kind of crabby about is this: People have hobbies. I have hobbies. I love to knit, enjoy journaling, making some art, etc. But to me, being concerned about the environment is not a hobby. I confess that I get a little discouraged when people tell me they read or saw something about climate change or recycling or composting or something like that and then tell me, "I thought of you." I know that, certainly, they only mean something kind when they say that, but really? You thought of me? Why not think of yourself... or for heaven's sake, your children or your grandchildren?
I have had people say things to me like, " Well, I know you're really into the environment..." I can't help thinking that I'm into the environment like I'm into breathing or into having my heart beat. We can't live without it, folks. Oh, there will still be an environment if we screw this one up, but ultimately, it will not necessarily be able to sustain life as we know it.

Feeling frayed leaves me feeling discouraged and less hopeful. I am hopeful when I read, on this vast internet, what others are doing, actions people are taking, and the wide variety of voices from around the world who are moving toward less wasteful, harmful ways of living. But, I confess, that when I look around me locally, I see little that impresses me and few that inspire me and that always leaves me feeling sad and even weary from time to time.

Quite often, in the places I have lived, I have felt like an island in a great sea of people who simply choose - yes, choose - not to pay attention to what is happening in and to the world around them. They know to recycle, but just don't. They know it would be better to bring shopping bags, but they just don't. They know it would be better not to take the disposable cups, plates, napkins, etc., but they just still do. It's all just so convenient. And so I swim upstream amidst even people that I love and risk being the wet blanket if I say too much. I try not to say too much too much most of the time and hope that my actions will speak for me. But when I hear that my actions simply make others think of me when they think about caring for this planet that we share, I do wonder why? And I wonder just what it will take - or rather - why it seems that it will have to take something catastrophic to happen before people will act?

I am sorry that we are such a reactive nation rather than a proactive nation on so many things. It seems true to form that our nation is like an addict that will have to hit bottom before it will pick itself up and begin to work to change. And yes, it takes work. It just does. Why do we believe that life ought to be convenient and easy and throw-away for us, when the greater majority of the world works very hard every day just to live? Why do we feel we deserve this? Why do we buy into the idea that we deserve this? Because it's easier and the alternatives are hard. But I continue to believe that the alternatives will one day - sooner than we may want to admit - no longer be alternatives, but will simply be the way - the new way - we must live or our children must live in order to adapt to the rapidly changing climate.

I am doing some things. To some, I am doing a lot of things. But really, I am doing some things. And I need to be doing more. I am just looking forward to the day when I will not be alone in doing these things. Doing things together is almost always easier. The new ways of living that will be a necessary part of our future will not be so difficult when there are more participating, more adding their creative juices to the pot. I do hope to see that day someday in my future.

I am ready and willing to change from a society that values the individual to one that values strong, involved communities. I look forward to the day when cities, towns, and neighborhoods will be planned around or retrofitted to serve the people that live in them instead of the cars that drive through them. I look forward to the day when people will have to (because of lack of fossil fuels) get out and walk or ride bikes or scooter or skate or share rides to their destinations. I look forward to the conversations folks will have when they will actually see their neighbors outside, because walking or biking is necessary. I look forward to the day when I see actual neighbors at the farmers' markets or CSA's, because this will be where we need to get most of our food - from local sources instead of 2,000 miles away. I look forward to the day when people will grow fruit and nut trees in their yards instead of ornamental trees and have gardens that can feed people instead of shrubs. I look forward to the day when these people will talk with neighbors and share foods with those that live around them.

These are things I look forward to and things I hope for. They are things I dream of and a vision that is dear to me. These are the things that I cling to when reality is so different around me and I'm feeling like an island. These are the things that I hope for when I hang another line of laundry or compost or bike instead of driving. I think it's a pretty great vision and this is why I am willing to try and why I wish - so much - that instead of others watching me try, they would step in and join me.


Kez said...

Great post. Trust me, it's not just your nation. Australia is very similar - very "privileged" and expecting that life should be easy. I too, look forward to the creation of neighbourhoods again.

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Anonymous said...

Ahhh Nicole, you need to come HOME! Live with us in our happy neighborhood where a festival which draws over a thousand people people only has one small bag of trash to dispose of at the end of it. Truly amazing and possible with the support of people who "get it". In a place where you CAN walk to everything you need and meet smiling faces along the way. I wish this for you, for the stars to align and bring you closer to the place you want to be. You do a wonderful job of creating that place, where ever you go, but some things are beyond our control. Some people choose to live in denial, choose to be ignorant, and those, hard as we try, we can not change. Sending you wishes for a brighter day...Lena

Karen said...

may i recommend a book to you, nicole? it's called the world peace diet ... i went to hear the author, will tuttle, speak on it last night. it is an amazing solution to all the world's current problems ... we must get everyone on board with it, i believe. and i KNOW how hard that is, and i KNOW that island feeling, and that "i thought of you" thing well ... sigh. but keep on. rest and some peace at home will provide the impetus. be well, my friend. peace.

Creative Life Studio said...

How interesting, Karen. I heard an interview w/him a few months ago on the local, member-supported radio station. The vegan Meetup group here had him come to give a talk, but I found out about it too late. I will look for his book though. Thanks for the "heads up."


Thank you my sister-friend. :) I would like to cling to your words of being able to come home, but I cannot allow myself to go there at this point. I am trying to come to terms with the fact that there seems to be no way, with this economy to make the move home, as I'd like. I am doing my best to be here in the present and do what I can with what I have available to me. Somewhat challenging, but I believe God will open the door for me when He's ready for me to be somewhere else...

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