Gardening and Graduates



This time of year is so full of new plants and new life. Suddenly the leaves are fully out on the trees and the smell of fresh baked Strawberry-Rhubarb pie drifts about on the wind. Light filling the early evening is a mixed blessing for gardeners, urging us to do one more thing outside before supper and then making that meal far too late! I love the urge to plant and clean up last year’s old growth.  I want to go get fish and bury them under the hills of squash and corn and potatoes. Primitive urges surface to dance in the light of the moon and stand for long minutes inhaling the seductive scents of Spring – lilacs, honeysuckle, iris, apple blossoms and wet earth. All of the wonderful abundant diversity of plants in our lives fills my senses with gratitude and awe. Their ability to come up through cement, live in the cracks of rocks, survive in all conditions, and change with the seasons is a good metaphor for all the graduates in this season as well.

The schooling that has been accomplished through all your study and hard work is amazing. The subject matter, though, may or may not pan out to be what you really need; may or may not be relevant in this rapidly changing, morphing world. The skills you have gained that will allow for your greatest success may not have been mentioned by your teachers and professors. Now at graduation it is time to take stock of the tools and techniques that will help you create your next life stage with passion and certainty. As with gardening some things will flourish this year that didn’t do anything last year. Some other ‘old faithfuls’ will wither and die for no apparent reason. We have more idea of the mystery in our lives now than ever before. So I look to the plants and animals – the natural world – for the most useful skills, talents, and tools for a future you can count on. We, like them, are evolving.

The key concept is to develope personal sustainability. Each one of us has the ability to sustain ourself as long as we also have the ability to re-think our life and then go with what works right now. Careers and trades come and go now with great regularity and increased speed. Count your education as something that has taught you how to think things through; how to find new answers and make up new solutions; how to get outside the box. Everything that has gone before can only give us the basic unstructured building blocks for the future. We are all standing on the very edge of the known universe. What do you want to have with you to help you with whatever is next in your life?

This is a variation of the old thought experiment: What do you want to have with you if you get stranded on a deserted island? What do you want to be able to achieve in a future that is not now defined; that is basically unknown; that is brand new? Think about it. Do you know how to make a solar cooker, plant seeds, be in community, step out of the backdoor with a song and a prayer knowing you can sustain yourself and others? Develope an understanding of re-purposing and frugality with your commodities. If we are going to create a world out of the best of the old world, what does that look like for you? In a world where money is no longer a stable commodity or even present in the same way as it was in the past, what matters to you and how will you get there from here?

These are the interesting questions. And the questions are always more interesting than the answers. Always. What questions are you asking yourself these days?  How many different options/answers can you think of for every question? If you can start from where your passion is and how it can be increased and expressed positively in the world, you will have a better way of creating your future. Don’t base your expectations of the future on anything from the past. We are in such a totally different world that approach will not work.

What do I suggest? Be flexible and head for a passionate dream, not an old tired goal of our Father’s and Mother’s design. Their dreams and accomplishments are history. Your’s has not yet come into being. Know all of the basics of personal sustainability and how to get by out of a backpack OR have a good friend who does. Know how to think and figure out new solutions to new problems. Know how to drop anything that doesn’t work, no matter how long it has been in use. This includes beliefs, patterns, and solutions used by anyone else for any other time. Assess the situation with a new eye, and remember that ‘I can’t’ never did anything. We are a creative, inventive people. Use this to energize your life.

I’ve gone on long enough. We are in the midst of turning this world onto a new course or dying trying. That is what’s at stake here. Those are the skills we need now. All your young eagerness and enthusiasm are the very qualities we need now every where at once. There are no limit to the number of jobs available to birth our new world; you simply need to create them, see them, do them, and enjoy the ride!

Congratulations and Blessings! You are our future! Live in it with passion!



This is a great piece. I thrill to the newness and rebirth of spring as I see you do. Each day is a treasure of new growth. My favorite thing is to watch the tiny curled leaves unfurl on the trees into beautiful new bright green full ones. Today was spent out of doors smelling the earth and planting my vegetable garden. My flower pots are blooming with delicious color and each flower is as new and delicate as my new granddaughter. Thanks, Kate, you have me thinking and feeling and enjoying. love to you, Barbara

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