Sunday, March 29, 2009

Half Empty or Half Full?

When the blizzards hit hard out here, you can see effects almost immediately. Within a couple days, even the huge chain grocery stores start to have empty shelves where produce and bread used to be.

That is an instant reminder of how interdependent we are in this world. Other people raise and produce our food and send it to us.

Such sights inspire some people to advocate that everyone store tons of food for emergencies. Of course, having some extra canned goods or dried food on hand is always a prudent idea. How much? Well, the half empty glass people will advocate a couple years worth, but perhaps a few months worth will see you through the worst emergencies, since the groceries seem to be restocked to normal within a week. So the extra will get you through times of power outages, storms and short periods of unemployment.

Another suggestion that has merit is that of victory gardens. Back around WW2, people were encouraged to grow some of their own vegetables and fruits in their own yards for their own consumption so that more produce could be available to feed the troops. Lots of people did.

Even to this day gardening is the most popular hobby not only in this country, but in the world. There is a real joy and pleasure to seeing plants grow, nurturing them and then having vegetables, fruits and herbs from your own garden be part of your meals. Herbs that season your food or become tea add a lot of life to any meal.

If you are producing more than you can eat right away, you can share it with others, you can can, freeze or dry it. Even a small patch can produce a lot. Many people would think that the idea of having a garden rather than a lawn would be less aethetically pleasing, but that all depends on your sense of aesthetics. For most of the life of this country, manicured lawns were not the standard in front of every house.

So is your life half empty or half full? We must trust that the world will continue to work. Farmers all around the world will continue to produce food and these mutual exchanges will benefit everyone. My world view is not so grim as to think that this will all end suddenly one day.

My glass is half full when I work in my garden because I enjoy it. My trust that other people will keep producing is based on the simple truth that buying and selling are necessary parts of life is also a half full view of life. We all have to guy and sell something just as part of every day life.

The half empty view of creating a life where each person is capable of producing all their own food is a reality that will never be available to most people. Seeing the glass as half full is the only option that makes sense. Always seeing it as half empty makes for a grim view of life, devoid of joy.


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