too many are too busy to live

Dear Uma: Thanks for The Great Shift; I really needed to read 256 pages of how much needs to happen in the evolution of human consciousness before 2012 wipes out our miserable, destructive race.

Dear Uma:

Thanks for The Great Shift; I really needed to read 256 pages of how much needs to happen in the evolution of human consciousness before 2012 wipes out our miserable, destructive race.

Much as I hate to sound gloomy, I can’t see how we’re going to make it; most people are too busy to read the book let alone evolve their consciousness.

Speaking of busy, a spate of sunny weather has seen the town get busier. There are tourists in the downtown RV park every night, businesses have extended their hours, locals are out and about more, and the gardening season has begun.

Last year I was amazed at how many people here grow flowers and vegetables; it was not an activity I associated with the Yukon. I have learned since, there is a substantial history of agriculture in this place of famed winters.

This year Pete and I are trying to grow stuff, too; we have a host of new acquaintances gathered as we sought advice and various implements, and hopefully we will have a host of fresh veggies as well.

As with most money-saving, health-improving endeavours, the initial outlay of cash to get started is astonishing. Naively, I thought all we needed was dirt, seeds and a hoe….

It turns out our lot had a successful garden on it at one point and we were directed by a neighbour to the X that marks the spot where the dirt is black, crumbly and, we are told, excellent for the growing of edibles. Or it will be when we have added moss, bone meal and many sacks of other soil-enhancing substances.

We did not buy a Rototiller, though we were tempted; we chose to dig it all up by hand—that’s what the new spades with the ergonomically designed handles are all about. The handles look as though they have been part of one of Uri Geller’s demonstrations, having a substantial swoop in their middles.

Pete thought they looked hinky, but I was persuaded by the salesman that this design allowed hours of productive digging without the resultant backache suffered by the users of the old-fashioned straight-up handles—the cheaper ones.

Hours of productive digging later, Pete used our new wheelbarrow to wheel me from the garden to the trailer. Both of us had to crawl up the steps; not only were our backs sore, but our palms were strangely blistered from the little nubby things on the rubbery grips.

The nubby things were so easy on the hands there was no need to wear gloves, the oily salesman assured us, a belief that hadn’t stop him from selling us deerskin gardening gloves. The pricier deerskin gloves were worth every penny, we were told, being supple to a most blissful degree and not needing to be removed when doing the more dexterous gardening chores.

We were at it again the next day after a restorative night’s sleep. We sowed our seeds, grateful for the cool shade of our new gardening hats.

The restorative night’s sleep had been assured by martinis before dinner, a bottle of wine with dinner, and some muscle relaxants with dessert.

We fell asleep congratulating ourselves on the day’s efforts and somewhat giddily agreeing this whole gardening thing definitely had its rewards.

I am taking some lessons from the Shift, and from the Findhorn folks—talking to my seeds and seedlings, telling them my hopes and dreams for them, leaving out the part where they are ripped from the earth and devoured by their loving caregivers….

I had my concerns about getting involved with a garden: being a person who neither craves nor seeks any more activities than those necessary to sustain life and a few to enhance it, I have spent a lifetime avoiding busyness and gardening seemed to fair reek of it.

Surprisingly, it is a soothing and sort of meditative activity; a few hours with my digits in the dirt leave me feeling refreshed, even when it is hard and dirty work.

Like any other place, Watson Lake has its share of extremely busy people who are busy all year round, but are able to somehow add gardening to their busyness.

They often do not appear to be soothed or calmed by their busyness, so perhaps gardening is their respite. They are still doing something, which makes it legitimate, but hopefully they are being refreshed at the same time, maybe nourished in some meaningful way.

This has been dubbed The Age Of Melancholy by those who dub the shifting moods of the human race. Depression is rampant in every country (except in Africa, where they have the most reasons to be depressed) and now it is being marked and tracked in children. Teenagers no longer dominate the field of youthful depression; children as young as eight have been diagnosed with the Giant Sad.

Increased violence among kids, teen pregnancies, youth suicides and substance abuse are just a few of the symptoms of a generation of kids suffering an adult illness, of kids feeling hopeless and helpless and sad.

I have wondered if all the busyness might not be a contributing factor.

A certain kind of busyness is crucial to life, allowing people to earn a living, to create art, and achieve success, but too often it becomes all-consuming and they become crazy busy, spending extraneous effort that gets them nowhere. We live in a world that has increasingly embraced more—more desire, more activity, more things, more exhaustion.

Days are filled with overwork or sensory overstimulation; people don’t have to face the difficulties or hard truths about their lives. Busyness makes a convenient excuse not to acknowledge what’s not working in their families, their relationships, or their places of work. Convenient because busyness is given automatic respect; no details are needed, or explanations given. ‘Too busy’ is a perfectly valid reason not to spend time on relationships, engage in activities purely for pleasure, or simply take care of oneself.

Sometimes stating how busy one is becomes code for “Look, I must be doing well because after all I am constantly striving, doing, giving, achieving, and working as hard as I can.”

Maybe everyone needs to garden. Should it be compulsory? It seems most things that are good for us need to be legislated these days, so why not growing some of our own food? Or flowers? Or best of all, both?

Add “Thou shalt garden” to the commandments of Christianity and make it a law for those who don’t heed commandments.

By the time 2012 rings our doorbell, we will all be healthy, happy and enjoying our elevated consciousness.

Love,

Heather

PS

Do you think it may be significant that ‘heather’ is a plant? Am I meant to be a gardener?

Heather Bennett is a writer

who lives in Watson Lake.