Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Change in the Wind, Dangerous Opportunity?

Photo Credit here

It is said (and also mis-said) that the Chinese word for Crisis = Danger + Opportunity. Not being a Linguist, I cannot attest either way, but I do hate it when The Universe changes the wind direction right out of my sails, thus creating a crisis, whether it is a dangerous opportunity or not.

Although I wasn't too happy to discover all the work on a new gardening spot I did in the Fall was for nothing, it was acceptable, even though it meant a time-delay of a gardening year, but I didn't consider it a true "crisis", just a major inconvenience.

Now all of a sudden, I do have a true butt-clenching crisis. My plans for the new food garden, along with many planned shade/fruit tree and fruiting shrub orders, and some much needed home repairs (esp. a new roof), are going change drastically quite soon unless some miracle happens. My younger half-sister and I share this house (and thus all the house expenses; although I have separate quarters, I pay half), and she was fired from her job last week. Since she was fired for "poor performance" after working there about 3½ years, it is unlikely she will be able to get unemployment benefits... and at her age of 63 and in a lousy job market, it is also unlikely she can find another job. That will put quite a strain on my already stretched finances. (Plus she has been supporting her 24 year old unemployed daughter who also lives here.)

I don't have a clue what will happen now. I only know that at this moment I am better off than many people in this country... I have a place to sleep out of the cold and rain, I have enough food, and I'm reasonably healthy.

Over the span of my 71 years, radical change has come along more than once, and almost always something good has eventually come from it... even though I could not see it coming at the time. In retrospect, I still believe each of the crisis ultimately presented an opportunity of some sort (despite any confusion on the interpretation of the Chinese word for Crisis).

This time I'm not so sure...

However, I do believe we all have Lessons to learn (or not), and that they are not always obvious to us. One thought in my mind that has been fairly constant over the past 2-3 years is a growing awareness of the importance of "community", whether that community is our actual local community, or the community of Family, or the community of Friends.

For most of my life I have been primarily alone and self-reliant, even amidst a large family and many friends. My generation, the siblings and cousins of our extended family, is now spread out across the country, and we grow farther apart with Time, as their own families have grown to include not just children but now grandchildren, plus all their various accumulated in-laws. I'm certainly not close to this half-sister who lives here, although that was one of my hopes when we decided to pool our meager resources after our mother died.

My connection to life-long friends becomes harder to maintain too, as we age and seldom see each other anymore. That leaves only the possibility of a "local community" to fill the void, and the locals here are a fairly closed, tight-knit group (plus all of them are mostly related). I know only a handful of people after living here 5+ years, and none well enough to call "friend".

So now I'm wondering if this change in the wind might entail having to move once again and start over for the umpteenth time... only in a place where community is possible... or if the change is something else entirely. I have NO clue... sigh.


11 comments:

  1. This post is wonderful as it helps me to get the sort of information that i needed. I am thankful to get your post when i was searching organic gardening

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  2. Darius, you might be a good match for Earthhaven ecovillage in the mountains of North Carolina -- you would certainly find community there. Maybe this crisis will turn out to be a good thing after all!

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    1. Thanks for the suggestion. I do know Earthhaven. When I moved to Asheville in the 1990's, I met several of the folks who started it, before they even bought the first parcel. I thought about buying in when I sold my house in Asheville 10 years ago, but meditated and saw I needed to take the message of sustainability somewhere other than "preaching to the choir"...

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  3. I just found your blog, and it is very cool! I am sorry you are experiencing stress at this point in your life. Is your home paid for? If so, I'd think you would be able to stay. I'll be praying for you definitely.

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    1. Amy, I'll manage... somehow. Prayers are always helpful!

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  4. along with many planned shade/fruit tree and fruiting shrub

    Hi Darius,

    I'm always interested in hearing about folk's plants for fruit trees and bushes. What were planning to add?

    Regards,
    Mike

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    1. Mike, this year I hope to add sea buckthorn, hardy kiwi vine, another 2-3 hazelnuts and try a hazelbert. I'd like to try pawpaw, osage orange, siberian pea shrub to fix nitrogen, and I've been trying for 3 years to find affordable fruiting quince before they are all sold out.

      I want to replace my black and red currants, and buffaloberry that succumbed to something, probably they were planted on fill.

      There are others, and I may do a post on them in a few weeks, I hope! With my below-poverty-level income, it doesn't all happen in a year or even 2.

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  5. Interesting list of plants. Perhaps folks on Dave's Garden have seeds, cuttings, or plants. As a swap they might accept a pay-it-forward from you.

    Regards,
    Mike

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  6. Also the USDA's Germplasm Resources Information Network might be a source of seeds and cuttings that you can graft.

    Sea buckthorn. Since sea buckthorn plants are either male or female, you'd need to start a number to be certain of having both. http://seaberry-hippophaerhamnoides.blogspot.com/ is a helpful site.

    Hazel can be stooled so you could produce rootstock for grafting some of these. Many seem to have little to distinguish them but there are a few interesting ones. Also currants and quince.

    I think that growing one's own rootstock is important to a horticulturalist since it allows for inexpensive expansion of one's orchard or adding something special. Based on my experience with apple rootstocks, I'm going buy plum, pear, and quince rootstocks this year and stool them.

    Regards,
    Mike

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    1. Thanks for the links, Mike.

      I have been aware that I'd need several sea buckthorns since I first researched and wrote several fruit, nut and berry articles for Dave's Garden 3-4 years ago.

      Stooling, however, is a new idea to me since I haven't done any grafting up to now. Pretty cool!

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  7. I haven't done any grafting yet either. I had to find the rootstock. Then I decided not to use it but rather to propagate it so as to have a continuous supply. I was too linear. I could have practised on our wild apples while I was waiting for my stooled rootstock to produce. Regardless of how much rootstock I have this year, I'll still be practising on our wild apples.

    Regards,
    Mike

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