Don’t Lose Sight of the Small Things You Can Do.

Pine seedling growing in a cup

Betcha been wondering when I was going to refer to the Gretchen Rubin podcast again, right? I think it’s been two weeks or so.

So, for a little background: I am obsessed with the upcoming election. (I don’t post anything partisan on this blog; if you want to know my take on the matter, click on the “Personal and Political” tab above.) I have a couple of news sources that come directly to my inbox, and I find it very hard to get started on my day without reading at least some of the articles posted there.

Then I have some other news websites that I check in with fairly regularly. If I get bored or tired (or apprehensive) my immediate thought is, “What does So-and-so have to say today?” 45 minutes, an hour–it can fly by in a wink. Then I’ll get worried about how close the race is, and so I’ll google “election polls 2016” and look for one that reassures me.  Then I tell myself, ‘Debi, nothing you’re doing here is going to change the outcome one little bit. Get busy!’ And I do, for awhile. Then I think, ‘Is the Such-and-such political podcast out yet?’ So I’ll check that. Sometimes I wonder what on earth I’m going to do with myself once next Tuesday is over.

Anyway, in this week’s podcast, Gretchen and Liz are doing their usual end-of-the-episode thing about demerits and gold stars. They sort of trade back and forth on who gets what, and they don’t always award them to themselves. (That was a confusing sentence.) So this week Liz got the demerit, as she and her husband stopped watering their trees and now it looks as though they may lose at least one of them. Liz lives in LA and they’re having a drought right now. Also, they’re doing some major home renovations, including some work on the outside. So, since they knew that the yard was going to get all torn up anyway, they stopped watering the lawn and, by extension, neglected their trees as well. They’ve now been told by their landscape designer that the big one that they love and truly wanted to keep may die. They’ve gone back to watering it, of course, but it may be too late.

Well, here at our house we’re looking at some changes, too, although we’re not doing any renovations as such. But we may rent it out. It’s pretty big, and soon it’ll just be Jim and me, and . . . there’s a whole list of reasons why we may make this move. The result of this thinking is that I’ve kind of lost interest in doing the watering. This loss always happens anyway around this time of year or even earlier:  I water and water, faithfully, all summer long, going around to every basket and pot every morning and hitting the plants in the ground about three days a week. And then it starts to get cool, and it starts raining, and I slack off.  Usually that’s not a problem. But this year it has stayed warm and hasn’t rained much. And I’ve neglected the trees and bushes, some of which were newly planted this spring.

Liz’s sad story jolted me into action. Regardless of whether or not we move, I don’t want my beautiful things to die! Just because I’m spending way too much time reading and blogging about the election, which may, at most, result in a couple of people thinking about maybe changing their minds on their vote, that doesn’t mean that I am excused for neglecting the small things around me that do make a difference. I’ve turned into a sort of electoral Mrs. Jellyby. (Don’t know who she is? Then you haven’t read your Dickens. Mrs. J. is a character in Bleak House, Dickens’ great novel satirizing the English law courts. There’s a large family of which Mrs. J. is the mother, and the children are all neglected because she doesn’t take care of them. Instead, she’s completely focused on setting up missions in Africa, a worthy cause, to be sure, but not one to be pursued at the expense of one’s immediate responsibilities.)

So I got started on watering the trees. My phone has the timer going, and I’ve already interrupted writing this post once to go out and move the hose. Thank you, Liz!

Share with friendsShare on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

Leave a Comment