Sunday, December 13, 2009
"I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world - this makes it hard to plan the day" E.B. White
When I ran across this quotation I didn’t know whether to laugh at myself, or cry over the truth of it. I have not been following the ins and outs of the Copenhagen talks. I did the reading beforehand. Whatever happens at the talks will happen without my reading. So, I’ll put my thoughts to other things.
E.B. White, a long-time writer for the New Yorker magazine, is probably best known for his children's books, Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little. His wife, Katherine Sargeant Angell, was an editor at the New Yorker, and she gardened. Her only published book, titled Onward and Upward in the Garden, is a compilation of her essays and reflections. I’ve read that she continued to plan for her garden in the last year of her life, when she knew she was dying. She ordered bulbs, oversaw their planting, planned new gardens. There is always hope in a garden.
Earlier this week, Bob, the husband of a co-worker, Mary, died of cancer. Bob had recently retired from a professional job with a large company. I have no doubt that Bob was wonderful at his job and easy to work with. But what intrigued me about him was that he grew trees at his home in the city. He grew trees from seeds, or propagated them. He nurtured them. He gave many away, and sold some to support this calling. He knew a lot about trees, a topic I am most ignorant on. People called him from all over; he knew everyone round about who loved trees. I want to honour Bob somehow. I think I’ll have to begin learning about trees, and find some places to plant trees. Perhaps the only thing I can do for Mary is to tell her that Bob’s good influence is leading me to learn and to do something.