Wednesday, March 11, 2009

On Nature and The Economy

For all the times I've moved across this country, if you tally it up, I've spent the majority of my life in Mississippi.  In the south one doesn't experience the change of seasons to the extent that we do in Indiana or say, here in D.C.  It pretty much goes from mild with occasional chilliness to DAMN YALL, IT'S REALLY HOT!  The Earth doesn't get a chance to go into winter or as I like to call it: funeral for the year.  I think that's why New Orleans smells so bad.  It hasn't had a good bath in centuries.  And NO, Katrina doesn't count.  There was sewage in that water.

People I know in all the places that are experiencing winter have been complaining about their readiness for spring as they do every year.  Perhaps it's because I went so many years without it, but I have come to appreciate winter and what it means.  Throughout these last few months when I would go outside and absorb the sight of  a very limited natural color palette, I would remind myself that every day I experienced this would only make those first few green blades of grass that much sweeter.  

Walking to the store yesterday, I noticed the tips of Daffodil stems beginning to force themselves up through the cold earth.  And the Forsythia bushes had the start of tiny green buds on the ends of their branches.  Robins ran around the playground looking for worms and gathering bits of this and that to line their nests.  We were obliged to shave Fairway's back half to provide the birds with some soft nest lining; consequently he now looks like a buffalo.  A one eyed buffalo.

Observing all of this change that we wait and pine for every year got me thinking about our current economic crisis.  (Please pause for a moment while I drag my soap box from the closet and dust it off.  Now I heave my ever expanding self upon it).  Even after listening to NPR almost constantly for the past several months, I still don't understand all the ins and outs and financial complexities of the problem we are in.  But I do understand one thing.  We have become a country so insistent upon instant gratification that we, the average American consumer, have put ourselves into a debt that we may never be able to climb out of.  Credit has become a dirty word to me.  It makes me feel almost as dirty and when someone says "Britney Spears".

We stayed with Jeremy's Grandma on our recent trip to Florida and I gleaned some valuable information from our conversations together.  Growing up and even now, she was taught to save the cash for something and pay for the whole thing, like a car.  Understandably some things like homes were too big to always pay cash for,  but forget about the freakin Jonses!  They're probably in foreclosure and standing in the unemployment line right now.  

Where are the parallels in this diatribe you ask?  Well, when I look at the perfection in nature I see alot that we as flawed humans could learn.  There is no rush in nature.  We wait.  And we wait.  And when spring finally arrives and the last blooms have opened on the dogwood trees, it is glorious and oh so worth the wait.  

Pregnancy has taught me the same thing and I think God intended it that way.  If I only carried this child for a short time, I don't think I would have the complex bond that has been cultivated over the course of the 40 weeks that she will reside in me.  Every movement from the first subtle bubbles to the feet jammed on top of my bladder increase my love and sense of protectiveness for her.  And when she finally arrives, it will be with relief and great joy that I hold her for the first time.  And it will have been oh so worth the wait.

And so in waiting for spring and waiting for this baby and listening to WAY too much NPR, I have learned that waiting is good.  Waiting and saving.  Saving and waiting.  Because in the end what does it matter that you got the million dollar house and luxury vehicle when it all gets taken away?  Like Aesop said, slow and steady wins the race.  

Take THAT Ben Bernanke and Henry Paulson!


Anonymous said...

Well put. AND you didn't even need to scream at anyone or try to make someone else feel ignorant. What an improvement over the talking heads! PS - Up here in the Great Frozen Midwest we won't see daffodil tips until May. Wah!

Lauren said...

Love the post- and I completely agree with your appreciation of winter and how it just makes you that much more grateful for the spring. Also agree on the economic front- we just applied for (get this) our very FIRST credit card, for emergency purposes only. It feels much better to earn something in full... again, raises the appreciation level. Can't wait to see how darn adorable that baby girl of yours will be; those last pics of Elsbeth made me melllllt.

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