Archive for February, 2007

A cozy piece of the past

February 27, 2007

I returned home from what was most likely my final summer working at Independent Lake Camp last year with this dreadful problem – what to do with all the nostalgic t-shirts. After letting them sit in a pile in my room begging to be made into a quilt for several months, I finally completed the task this weekend. On one side of the quilt is my hard-earned 10-year blanket – on the other, a 12-year span of camper, counselor, and theatre staff shirts, with a layer of batting in between. Not completely comprehensive, since I rescued a couple of the ones I actually put on now and then, but it took some serious breathing exercises before I took a pair of scissors to some of them.

I should also mention that the blue background is a duvet cover that had similarly been taking up space in a closet somewhere. How’s that for recycling? 😉

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A winter walk

February 25, 2007

I took a walk yesterday, through the neighborhood I grew up in. It’s, crazy? strange? interesting? exploring this place, after going to college in Minnesota for four years, and having come back to stay at the house I grew up in here in DC. And here I’ve been going back and forth to work every day and not even noticing how different it feels from walking two blocks to the elementary school. I see a sign up at the school labeling it a “Peaceable School Zone” – I don’t remember it being there before.

I cross Western Ave into Maryland, and I notice almost immediately differences in the sizes of the houses and the lawns, the paving of the streets. Hey, I didn’t know my street dead-ended in a cul-de-sac, and I lived here how many years?

I’ll bet I see more if I take a walk in this snow today too…

Things I’ve been chewing on: tortilla crisis, talkin’ climate, measuring happiness, nature’s middlemen in danger, and triple-bottom-line MBA programs – is GWU in my future?

Worldchanging?

February 21, 2007

My question is: How can I best change the world? Not how can I do it, because clearly that will happen/is happening. That’s not an ego thing, just that it’s true, and it’s true of you too, if you’re reading this. We all make decisions and do work that affects the world as a whole, and if we’re doing the right thing, then it’s positive change, it’s worldchanging.

I do know this: that I touch the lives of others, and that in order for me to do that positive kind of worldchanging, then that kind of touch needs to be engaged, active, helpful, and practical. That, for me, what is most important is the resources that are shared by all of humanity – I’m talking about climate and ecosystems, as well as fairness and equality – a need for us as individuals to live as though every person on earth could live as we do and still have a healthy and abundant life, and for us as a people to be deliberate about that kind of sharing and connectedness, to balance our own scales.

For me, this means a number of things: 1) It means I have to walk the talk and practice what I preach. This presents dilemmas – am I to share my home with strangers simply because I have the space? Am I to refuse a higher salary because I know that it partly stems from my privileged life, my educational opportunities, and even simply the country that I live in? Am I to give up my cherished city life to live by example off the grid in a straw bale home? How can I be engaged in society at a worldchanging level and also live the transformation I want to see? 2) It means that both the professional work I do and my work environment have to reflect these values. 3) It means that I not only have to live this, but I have to share it. Because it’s not just a “green” thing. It’s not just a touchy-feely eco-friendly hippy-crunchy thing. It’s an every citizen thing, and I need to treat it as such. I need to not just say oh, I care about environmental issues, it’s my passion. I need to engage others – the unlikely candidates – to ask questions and pose solutions. To be on the same level as my peers in such a way that we build on each other’s work and each other’s strengths, and find ourselves sharing the same goals.

And still there is the original question – how can I best change the world? What is my role? There certainly is no static answer, so I must continue to ask it every now and then.

Mm, chewy

February 17, 2007

Things I’ve been chewing on this week:

Citizen action by farmers in the Sahel desert of Niger, restoring ecology, one tree at a time: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/11/world/africa/11niger.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

Anna Quindlen’s latest on getting out of Iraq: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17080793/site/newsweek/from/ET/

Spherical solar cells harness the sun’s energy at any angle: http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/006018.html

Show I went to last night: http://www.myspace.com/soundsofhope

 

Things I could do with 10 days of leave:

One of the ones on the list: Galapagos (<–this one’s most likely, given my family’s vacation inclinations), Peru, Alaska, Appalachia

Spread it out and take three-day weekends for all the people i’ve been meaning to hop a train and visit some day

Visit seniors & recent grads at Carleton senior week (might take a weekend for commencement anyway)

ILC theatre elite week

Take a long walk

Road trip!

A Smaller World Service Trip or Reality Tour

Something completely different and/or spontaneous

Why?

February 15, 2007

After years in the city and scattered excursions exploring the rainforest, the prairie, the mountains, the ocean, it was in the desert that I believe I found the most clarity. Because everything is so stark, so immediately dire and definite. You see every bird, every tree, every dune, because it is simply there, with no obstructions. You burn in the sun and you taste the aridness – water, you must have water, and you are conscious with every drop of its limitedness. You must rely on the kindness of strangers – alone, you are nothing. You find god in the most unlikely of places – a single plant, a gust of sand and wind, a stone shaped by the millenia of movements. And you appreciate every shade of green in the oasis. In spite of yourself, you embrace the quiet, though you could write a song for every grain of sand…

 

And then you remember that you’re not a songwriter, at least not yet, that you barely write anything creative anymore, that this is the whole reason for this blog. It is your sandbox, and your sounding board. And maybe, just maybe, others will want to listen, even though you’re still tuning your instrument =)

 

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