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The elevator speech January 19, 2012

Posted by Barbara in Uncategorized.

“So what are you doing these days?”

The question comes from friends who truly care and from passing acquaintances who are merely being polite.

My mind races around the variety of tasks on my to-do list. Some of them mundane , some  personally challenging , some are fairly esoteric (working on a website about the reef aquariums), and a few are fairly normal (planning the year’s vegetable garden.)    But when the question comes, I never quite seem to have an answer.    Especially on those days (most days, to be honest), when I’ve bounced from one end of the spectrum to the other.   My feelings at any given moment aren’t quite predictable either.   Ask in the evening, when I’m tired, and I can’t really wrap my head around it all and so I have no answer.  I need an elevator speech – planned and rehearsed – so I can answer the question.

The challenge is that the laundry list of minutiae doesn’t begin to tell the story that matters, anyway.

I run on the elliptical at the gym – and close my eyes.   I’m running down a mountain road – getting ready for the 93 mile backpacking treasure of the Wonderland Trail.   I don’t know whether the chance to hike it will come this year or next.  But it will come.  And I’ll be ready.

The fish bowls always need cleaning.  One day, as I cleaned,  I discovered a young sea urchin had made himself at home in one of the tanks.  We never bought a sea urchin.  He’s a mystery visitor, but I love the discovery and add him to my  stories.   I’ll tell them one day for a book or a website.  I truly believe that as we learn more and relate more closely to these awesome creatures, we will begin to understand and value our world and our own place in it more completely.

I sit in the car waiting for school to end and take a deep, focused, yoga breath.  J gets in the car and I hand him the keys.  If we’re lucky, I won’t over-coach or worse yet, get downright excited when his reactions don’t quite match my own. (He’s a great driver, btw.)   He tells me he’ll be 18 next year.  Oh….. wow…..

I call and visit with my mother.  She’s having a good day today – or not so good.  She lives too far away.  We talk about painting.  I’ll paint a picture of what I imagine the Wonderland Trail must look like and send her a copy.   She’s painting one of a lake she watches when she and my Dad go out for dinner.  Painting is her best pleasure now and it lets us focus on the good in life.   Her life has had such challenges .  And I hold her just a little closer every day.

I have some new books to read:  Small-scale Grain Raising, The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook, and Thinking, Fast and Slow.    Two for planning the amazing garden I’m sure we’ll have this year.  One for learning about learning.  I never get tired of either.   The garden is a reality that manifests a dream.    As we plan and work, it blossoms with sharing and the possibility for building community and learning / teaching as much as with food.

What am I doing these days?   I guess it’s really an extended version of what I did as a kid.



A single dream is more powerful than a thousand realities. ~J.R.R. Tolkien



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