Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Goodbye to 2004 in Sonoma on this Earth

The year is almost over. We all have to say goodbye to 2004. the days are beginning to get longer , a little less than two minutes a day. If you can read or hear this, you are still alive.

To be alive in a vast and open and mainly empty universe. That is no small thing. Though we are a small thing in this vastness.

We are alive in Sonoma. We won’t always be alive. Sonoma the town wasn’t always here, even this valley wasn’t always here. Who knows how long it will be here in the future. Will Sonoma be a future curiosity for scuba divers if the polar ice caps melt? Will it be a thriving small town showing people throughout the country and world how a group of people could decide to live ecologically and emotionally satisfying lives? Will it be a crowded spot in some gigantic metropolis that runs from Monterrey to Mendocino?

The future is blessed in a certain way: we can’t know what it will be. It is also beginning to be known, as it is being shaped right now. Many people want to slow the rate of building in Sonoma. That will have an effect on our future, if we can do that. People around the world are studying how to create what they call natural capitalism, where one business’ waste product (extra heat, say) is used as another business’ resource (heat to a greenhouse business, say). In nature there is no pollution. Every creature’s waste is some other creature’s food. In a garden this is easy to implement, using last year’s dead tomato vines and the fall’s leaves and the ongoing kitchen wasters, to stir into the alchemy of a compost pile, where nature knows how to turn this all into next year’s soil.

Look around town and you’ll see tons of soil food (leaves, grass clippings, weeds) being blown into piles and thrown into trucks, hopefully to be carted off somewhere they’ll be composted. But always this activity is denuding the garden from which it came of organic nutrition.

Mow and blow. Poison the grass, often. Water it too much, usually. Make a huge racket cutting back the over fertilized lawns and stripping the property of valuable organic matter. What do these sorts of practices tell us about our chances for a harmonious future? Think of the alternative: the soft sound of a rake or a broom, but then, terrors: it might cost more. Then again, what if we cared for our own yards and saved the cost of a gym membership because we did real work? More heresy. Oh, well: thinking ecologically in often heresy in our society. So be it.

We are alive, on this earth now. This will not always be true. One of the great egalitarian facts of life is that no matter how rich or how poor we are, no matter how beautiful or not so beautiful, no matter how lucky ( and is not to be alive in this blessed corner of the planet lucky in itself) or unlucky we all, we all die. Did, dad, done, dead. The year ends. So will we.

A reminder to stay clear on what we are living for. Perhaps to love more, to be happy, and to connect with and help the Earth.

Happy New Year. Happy Life. Happy Sonoma. Happy Earth. Happy you and your happiness and your life.


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