Thursday, April 15, 2010

Economic eco-logic

So early in spring

when the camellias drop their
last mushy pink blooms

it's already too late to
do anything but surrender to
this city stretch of land

no more idle winter hands
groping for the warmest thing in the night.

Maybe it's apt timing. Maybe it's spring and i am ready to do more than curl up on the couch. But whatever is playing into it, my need to tighten up my economic situation is fitting nicely with my desire to be increasingly self-sufficient. I am prioritizing a lot of travel in the months to come, and that has me being a bit more stingy with the after-school treats, the trips to the arcade, and the happy hour cocktails. It also has me honing my strategy for planting the garden i want to feed us all summer.

But all of that is just fine, in so many ways.

Our country, and the entire world by proxy, is suffering an economic downturn that comes at the hands of too much, too fast. Many have been too greedy, and it's come back to bite us all. So what do people do when they're strapped for cash? They find ways to save. And happily, those modes of penny-pinching can turn into a lighter tread on the earth. When i ride my bike to get the kid from school, i save money and burn less fuel. When i choose the turnip greens sprouting in the garden over the o.g. baby spinach at the co-op, i choose zero food miles over hundreds. Again, i save cash, and the resources it takes to feed me involve my own effort. The list goes on. Less eating out. Healthier for me, and cheaper. Keeping the old bikini instead of going for the shiny new one beckoning me at Target. Maybe not healthier for my spirit, but what did i need that new one for anyway, when there are four or five hidden in my dresser? Plus, i suppose the lift i miss out on from the retail therapy is traded for an austere sort of pride in just needing less.

I think i've said something like this every spring that i've had this blog. When the camellias start dropping their blooms and those first signs of spring are no more, i start feeling like the clock is ticking. There is time only to do the work of the mind during the day, and in the evening, to do the work of staying self sufficient, by working in the garden.

Bottom line: Save money by doing more things on your own, and you'll get back at least thrice -- through the power of self-sufficiency, a healthier relationship with your world, and a bigger bulk in your wallet.

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