As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kinds of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives. Henry David Thoreau
Choosing to Grow has dominated my life. As I knelt on the cold linoleum of a rented bathroom sixteen years ago, my prayer of desperation yielded the instruction to Choose to Grow. I’ve pursued that ever since. What CTG means is I never settle for blind acceptance of someone’s idea. I investigate, deconstruct and analyze continually to see what growth is possible and what noticing I should entertain.
To be honest, growing started in the dark recesses of my mind long before I realized it was aiming my shoulders to find blossom at the end of this road.
From a deep interest in Thoreau’s instructions for Civil Disobedience at Waldon Pond, to journal entry reflections written prior to 9-11, through the first book I researched, and because of all the moves we endured oscillating between still quiet and robust busyness in our married life, I’ve sensed this house would be our landing spot and our legacy project would be The Park.
Now that we are here, I’m more challenged than ever to allow space for the thoughts that will tread deep paths in my mind.
This Week’s Growth
It is Earth Day 2020. Fifty years since its inception and smackdab in the middle of a contentious and deadly pandemic. What began as a Wisconsin senator’s launchpad for environmental activism has proven to be a chasm in today’s political climate. It’s one more thing people have decided to fight about. Many have become far too frustrated to sit still for a second, look at the world literally in their back yards and attend to the plants, or the weeds, or the birds and animals that work to exist there- even when a deadly virus mandates it. Finding satisfaction in the simple is not the way of our American life and especially not our stay-at-home resistance.
An increasing number of people prefer to fight. Joining causes and raising voices that pit science against beliefs and responsibilities against freedoms. I stand firmly between the contrasts, contemplating all of it.
Fuel for my thinking this week came in both a book and a movie. The book Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant has challenged me to stay courageous in the ways I chafe at societal norms. I also found plenty of food for thought watching the movie, The Biggest Little Farm, about natural, organic and co-existent farming that is an actual place with actual awe-inspiring growth.
My husband and I are spending this down time better laying plans for The Park. We want to make use of the landscape for the enjoyment and enrichment of all people able to visit. We want to encourage a gentle balance between the natural tendencies of the land to grow and people’s recreation on it. We have adopted a business model of Just Enough. Just enough visitors to keep the resources abundant. Just enough money to keep the business viable and the employees well paid. Just enough profit to make regular charitable contributions to those around us who need it. Just enough scheduling that there is balance between work and recreation for our family too.
Today is not a political day for me. To be honest, every single day here at the end of the road is Earth Day. Especially now that I have time to observe the spring version of this property, I am compelled by the life that struggles to bloom, emerging through decaying layers that were yielded before the winter snow buried them. I’m distracted by the return of birds to nests and the cyclical rhythm of next-generation-eagle-pairing. I am not an activist, but I guess I will claim I am an environmentalist because the world around me is too fascinating to disregard.
Here are today’s Earth Day postcards from the end of the road.
May this Earth Day provide at least a moment of contemplation and fertile ground for your choice to grow too.