I read the newspaper every day. I like to take a few minutes to drink my tea and read the comics, but I also think it’s for preachers to know what is going on in the world. Even when they’re on sabbatical.
Of course with the world markets in such turmoil, the newspaper these days is far from cheery. The business headlines said things like, “Stock dips make us feel poorer”. Everyday people were quoted as saying things like, “I’m cashing my investments out at a loss. If the U.S. fails, we all fail.” Words like turmoil, downgrade, and chaos filled the columns.
Let me be clear: I have no major worries. I have no investments or portfolios, so haven’t lost any money. My work, and my husband’s, are pretty secure. And we actually have jobs.
Still, as I read the Toronto Star out on the back deck this morning, with dappled sunlight on my shoulders and everything around me fresh and green from last night’s rain, it occured to me that if I have been feeling at all anxious about the world’s money troubles, this was the place to think about them.
For starters, I had just hung out the laundry. As I watched it swaying in the breeze I considered how much money we were saving by not using the dryer. That’s a new habit for our family since May, and our timing was good. We are already noticing a few extra dollars have become available in our monthly budget.
Looking out over the vegetable garden, I thought about how some people may begin to think about starting their own gardens as the economy worsens. It can be a good way to save a few dollars, after all. I already have some practice at growing my own food. If I need to, I could grow more. Maybe my grow lights could keep us in lettuce all winter?
And then there is the house: my strange little house with not quite enough room for six people, stuck on a busy suburban street corner. We have longed to move into a bigger home in a quieter location–mostly as the kids got bigger. We looked at houses, considered the financing, dreamed of moving up the property ladder. About six months ago–as housing prices here in Oakville continued to rise–we gave up that hope, at least for the forseeable future. If the economy is going to be a mess and the cost of living is going to go up, maybe that was a good decision. We may be cramped, but at least we have an affordable place to live.
Most of all, however, reading the newspaper in the garden this morning allowed me to re-shape my perspective. The grapes keep growing, beautiful and brilliant in the sun. The birds are chirping, oblivious to markets or meltdowns. Cucumbers keep climbing their trellis. Daylilies bloom blithely on. In this world, everything is as it should be.
This is one of the gifts of being connected to the natural world, whether you are looking out the window at the trees or sitting next to a pot of marigolds. No matter what happens in our human-created systems, the sun will continue to rise and set. The bees will buzz and the flowers will bloom. The rain will fall and things will grow on regardless. There are powers at work in the world that are far greater than governments or stock markets. These days, that is a comforting thought.