Wednesday, June 01, 2011

The Joy Of Gardening And Other Generational Differences

I finally got around to reading an article Hub had printed out for me awhile ago.  It has the foreboding title of Standard and Poor's Downgrade and the Death of American Exceptionalism.

The contents reminded me of just what we've been doing for the last several days that has kept me away from the computer.  Working.  Hard.  For the pure pleasure of enjoying the end result.

Every spring we have a ritual.  We buy a myriad of bare root trees to plant on our acreage.  Our effort to reforest this dismal prairie.  We're tree people and shouldn't be here, but we are.  So we dig the holes, buy the trees, plant them and nurture them like children until they set down their roots.  It's exhausting, especially for folks our age with our variety of aches and pains.  Yet it's a good tired, one from a job well done and the pride that comes from watching our efforts flourish.

It ties in directly to the point of the article.  The generational difference between those of my own who grew up being taught to work for what we want, to earn it and then to enjoy the fruit of our efforts.  That work ethic let to American exceptionalism.

Now we are leaning to an entitlement mentality.  We want the government to do more and more for us.  Obviously the case with the resistance to change in medicare and social security.  Education.  With it comes the end of individualism, innovation and yes, our exceptionalism.  President Obama has made it clear time and again this is his vision for our country. But what happens when the money runs out? Our money. That's how it's paid for.  Our taxes and an ever increasing debt ceiling until no one will lend to us because the dollar no longer has any value.   Nor will the country.

We could have hired a landscaping firm come in and plant our trees.  They would even choose them I'm sure.  They'd be just as pleasing to the eye or would they?  We'd have a sense of detachment because it wasn't our effort, no matter how pleasing they may appear.  Yes, the landscapers would do their job and move on.  To get them back if a tree got sick would be nearly impossible.  We'd either have to educate ourselves on the care and maintenance or lose it.  After all, weren't we entitled to a job properly done even though we had no input as to how that should be?  No idea that recourse would be time consuming, probably less than satisfactory ~ and expensive?

It seems to be little different than giving up our individuality and independence to the government.  Like airline security where we allow ourselves to he herded like sheep and manhandled beyond all decency in the name of safety.  Like health care where decisions will be broad based  without considering individual needs.

Maybe we should all plant trees and gardens and learn all over again what exceptionalism feels like.  That puff of satisfaction that comes from a drooping plant that resuscitates. By our own skill, caring and possibly innovation.

My hands are dirty even though washed a thousand times.  It will take days to get all the dirt out from under my nails.  My back has felt better for sure.  But we got it done.  With a lot of laughter and good humor even as shovels  hit rock sending reverberations running through our spines.

I feel good.  I feel proud that we old folks still have it in us.  We'll have left our mark on our little bit of the prairie.  Our mark.  Not someone or something elses.  That's the only entitlement I want.  As a reward for our own exceptionalism.


1 comment:

Margie's Musings said...

I've been doing a lot of gardening too, Mari. It does make us feel like we have accomplished something worthwhile, Doesn't it?