“Begin as you intend to continue,” my grandmother Chris used to say whenever I tried her patience as a child. She was of Scots parentage, and most likely inherited that practical streak and her love for aphorisms from her father, a Vermont stonemason. I’m taking her admonition to heart in this new year, when difficult times make it seem especially relevant. How best to handle the economic uncertainty, peril of global climate change, and other stresses that seem beyond my control? Begin as I intend to continue: One step at a time, living out my beliefs, day to day. For me that means articulating more clearly what I believe—the essence of my passion and my mission. Hence this new blog and my newly re-designed web site. (You can read earlier posts from the last couple of years at my old blog, Community of the Land.)
The title of this blog comes from my belief that nature, the community of lives that animate this living, breathing blue planet, is our home. At some point we decided that humans were above the fray of the messy stew of wild relationships that birthed our species, Homo sapiens. Since then we’ve attempted to run our lives largely as if we and nature somehow no longer need each other. Yet its community is part of who we are, from the myriad microorganisms that digest our food and clean our skin among other services, to the plants that respire in tandem with our breaths, exhaling the oxygen we breathe in and taking in the carbon dioxide we exhale. It seems to me that the reason many of us feel so lost, or needy, or incomplete is precisely because we are alienated from nature, the home of our species.
On a personal note: The photo above shows our windowsill greens garden. (That’s Renee Shepherd’s Paris Market greens mix, with assorted lettuces and herbs. The lacy leaves are chervil, a sweetly licorice flavored cool-season herb that’s delightful in salads or on sandwiches.) The windowsill garden is our experiment in growing greens inside in the winter. So far it’s working—I pick fresh greens for my lunchtime salad every day, warm from the sunlight that powers their cells.
I’m beginning as I intend to continue in my writing as well: In a few days, I’ll be starting a writing fellowship that frees me from my accustomed deadlines for three months. For that time, I’ll have the luxury of working on my next book without worrying about generating income. Thanks to Terra Foundation for generously supporting my work, and to Colorado Art Ranch for making this fellowship possible!