Well, I think I speak for just about the whole world when I say this week has sucked. The triumvirate of devastation that has hit Japan is horrific and mesmerizing and terrifying. The cries for democracy around the Middle East are being met with brutal repression. My state’s government just announced we are $80 million more in the red than previously thought, bringing our total state budget shortfall to $4 billion over the next 2 years. (Sorry, Johnny, no school for you.)
It’s the kind of week when it’s pretty tempting to stick your fingers in your ears, close your eyes and say “La la la la! I can’t hear you!” over and over again until some semblance of order and normalcy returns.
But even when the world seems most chaotic, and there doesn’t seem to be a bright spot anywhere in the news, there are signs of a literal and proverbial spring if you let your gaze settle on the things closest to you.
There is an old, independent bookshop in my hometown. Walking by Friday evening, I saw this display in the front display window:
The entire window was given over to books on urban homesteading and edible gardening. Now, I live in a community that is dominated by individuals of a certain age. Okay, I’ll just say it: our demographic is old people. We are not, as a town, young, hip or particularly inspired by anything Portlandia.
Yet even here, people want to pick up a shovel and grow something. Families and singles and retired folks are all saying, “Hey, the people up the road have that veggie garden. Maybe we could do that this summer…” The urban homesteader vibe is spreading. Even our little bookstore feels it.
To me this is hopeful, inspirational and reassuring. People are responding to the uncertainty around them by reaching for their own soil and their own productive capacity. They are responding to troubled times with pragmatic action. We may just become a Nation of Farmers after all.
The Edmonds Bookshop Display Window Selections:
Your Farm in The City
Edible Front Yard
The Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook
Edible Seattle Magazine
The Revolutionary Yardscape
The Informed Gardener
The Informed Gardener Blooms Again
Good Weed, Bad Weed
Greening Cities Growing Communities
Recipe for Raising Chickens
Grow Great Grub
Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer
The Curious Garden
Growing a Farmer: How I Learned to Live Off the Land
Trauma Farm: A Rebel History of Rural Life
The Backyard Homestead
What are your favorites from this list?
This Sunday is the official start to spring here in the Northern Hemisphere. Are you doing anything to mark the Vernal Equinox? And perhaps more importantly, what are you doing to protect your sense of peace in a world that seems decidedly unpeaceful right now?
Have a wonderful weekend, and Happy Spring!