Resolving January

Having reviewed in November, reflected in December, January is when it’s time to resolve. Resolve ideas and/or problems, resolve to do and make better. It is after all, the month when the world works on resolutions is it not?

As I go through my notes of observations, thoughts, wishes and wants in the garden, I’m generally struck by two things. The length of the musings and the sheer ambition of the gardener. Its laughable at first glance. But then, on reexamination, several things require the same action, a few items are quick fixes, some matters need a bit of tweaking while a couple are mere suggestions for pondering, others are long term projects and the remaining are simply pipe dreams.

Once triage, troubleshooting and targets have been sorted out, things look so much more manageable. Seed starting is scheduled, ditto for repairs and replacements. I break down bigger projects into doable sections and plan accordingly – taking into account seasons, my own work/personal calendar, time required and the possible need for additional manpower. Plants to be added are sourced and ordered – preferably from local nurseries. When and where to plant them determined.

Naturally, it all depends on the various circumstances, availability of what is needed, my budget and how easily I can obtain the necessary plants and/or structures. I have learned that no matter how well I’ve planned and prepped, it pays to stay flexible. Mother Nature has a habit of tossing out curve balls just for fun. My best effort is to have a plan, a commitment to execute it to the best of my ability and always allow for the Universe to intervene. Because, for better or worse, it will.

I’m still away from my garden and reveling in warmer climes but Nature continues to be my Muse –my recent watercolors –

(c) 2024 Shobha Vanchiswar

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Future Shock

A new year has begun. That connotes so much – new beginnings, fresh resolves, high hopes, overdue changes. The potential is high and the possibilities endless. My pulse quickens as I consider how much I want to achieve. Even while I’m aware that my ambition verges on the unrealistic, I’m still excited to indulge in dreaming big.

There is however, one thing weighing heavy on my mind. Climate change and our part in it. The evidence is undeniable and yet, not enough is being done to mitigate the circumstances. To make matters worse, policies meant to change and improve our practices have been undone and climate-change deniers are reinstating old, destructive ways. I am truly worried.

At this rate, we’re hurtling towards self-destruction. This most beautiful, blue-green home planet of ours will cease to sustain life as we know it. There will be nothing for future generations to inherit. Heck, there won’t be any future generations.

As I see it, while we await the leadership to do something positive, each of us must do our utmost to fulfill our own responsibilities. I’m fortunate to live in a far-thinking, proactive town. Our water meets and exceeds current standards, we recycle, compost and mulch, businesses no longer provide plastic shopping bags, our electricity is generated mostly from wind and solar power, our parks and preserves are responsibly maintained and as a whole, we are an environmentally conscious community. Yet, we could do more.

I’d like to see ‘quiet days’ instituted – when the use of power equipments are not permitted. Even one day a week of this would be significant. Not only in the elimination of noise and air pollution but by being a consistent practice, it would keep us aware of the need to do right by the environment.

We ought to strongly advocate the use of our school buses – if we stopped dropping our children off ourselves, imagine what a difference this would make. One can justify/make excuses about why one must take a child to and from school in a car but seriously, in the end, it is mostly about the ease and convenience. Admittedly there are exceptions but the norm ought to be to ride the bus. No one said doing the right thing would be easy.

We have got to start thinking of what’s good for the entire community and not simply our own individual selves/families. The cars we buy, our household use of energy, how we maintain our gardens, the products (and the packaging) we use at home etc., Every effort is impactful.

On my part, I’m determined to up my game.

As I reflect on the year just passed, I’ve decided on how to celebrate the lives of those dear friends I lost. I’m going to plant a native tree in honor of each of them. Considering their individual personalities, I intend to select a ‘matching’ tree and plant it somewhere appropriate. An oak for Joan, a poplar for Mike, a shad-blow for Al. Each a reminder of their exceptional lives and my good fortune in getting to know them. I’m paying it forward.

Likewise, as I mentioned a few weeks ago, for any future tool, device or gadget I purchase, a native tree or plant will be planted. So I’m either going to be a more careful shopper or I’m going to run out of place to plant anything. Either way it is a win.

Happy New Year to each of you! Here’s to collectively making a positive difference.

December (In New York City)

(c) 2019 Shobha Vanchiswar

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