OK, in the vein of full disclosure, I am uneasy being green or labeled as politically correct. The risk of hypocrisy is just too great. I can picture myself at the end of my life standing in front of Ed Begley Jr. guarding the Green Gates of Heaven. He’ll pull at his long white beard and say something like “…hmmm, she did replace her front lawn with drought-tolerant plants, but did you see what she has in the back? For shame!” The trap door in the clouds would open and down I would tumble into Climate Change Hell.
That said, I care deeply about my environment. I’m kind of a hot house flower. While I realize that the earth does not need me (or any other human), I desperately need it to be a certain way for life to be bearable. I require sun and living things and quiet for me to thrive and be creative. This is why I garden. It makes me happy–the doing of it, and the outcome. I love surrounding myself with plants and trees and flowers. I love watching insects and birds. Once my environment is just so, I am free to make art. And that makes me happy too. With any luck, my doing these things, mostly for selfish reasons, will make other people happy.
Cultivating My Garden
At the end of Candide, after being buffeted by the trials and tribulations of life, the title character concludes that all he can do is cultivate his garden. As with Candide, it is clear to me that we do not live in “the best of all possible worlds.” While there is nothing I can do to change the forces of nature or mankind, I do believe I must try to live well and hope for the best, in spite of that fact. In part, that means living consciously–knowing what I consume and why. If there are changes I can make in my life that make sense, I will. The way I garden and the way I make art is almost as important as the end result. It is thrilling to create something from almost nothing…whether it is plants from seeds or sculptures from flour, water, and newspaper. The sun is my power plant. And, best of all, it’s free!