It is mid-February. A few days ago I was sitting on the deck of our house, in the sunshine—and it was 55 Farenheit/12 Celsius. I hesitate to mention what a lovely winter we are having when across the North American continent there is so much snow and ice and disastrously low temperatures—however you measure it. And England is awash in floods; heavy rains, and storms tearing at its coastal towns. And Australia is broiling hot and dry and afire.
Our mountains have looked craggy—cliffs showing through which should be covered with snow—until this week they are finally getting a super load of snow. From near drought conditions (for rain forest mountains) to normal snowpack depths in a week! Ann and I are hoping to take a day-trip, get out the snowshoes, and go tromping if the storms back off by the end of the week and the avalanche danger settles down. Not safe yet… we have to be content with beach walks and greenery until NOAA gives some kind of all clear.
All this to say, looking west and east at the mountains that hover over Puget Sound views, I have joined the collective vulnerability that weather is creating this season in both hemispheres. A wake-up call, to what we are not sure. Several faraway friends are writing or phoning in search of information on the community garden we started a few years ago, and recommendations on the woodstove we bought—as suddenly they are taking seriously their own needs to retrofit and reshape their life-styles for greater self-sufficiency.
Anxiety and ambiguity can be helpful motivators as long we experience them in moderation and keep educating ourselves in chunks we can cope with. We don’t know what’s coming; we don’t know when the collapse of things is going to hit our individual lives and plans, and thwart our hopes for ourselves, our children, or our grandchildren.
I just finished cooking the lentils I bought to get through Y2K. This year our goal in the garden is to find some kind of grain or protein we can grow successfully in this climate—the cool salted breezes are not Mediterranean here. I want to set an example of a person awake to the larger picture, doing what I can in my work and my lifestyle to contribute to commonsense and rationality. I want to lean down, enjoy what is, build resilience in my own heart, my family, my community—and in the wider outreach that something like a blog touches.
Here are some photos of beauty that I see from my front steps. May they green a place in your heart as well.