Thursday, August 27, 2009

The wheelbarrow or Deepak Chopra?

(DrTom doing his morning yoga exercises.  I look so much better now than when I was teaching at Cornell.)

I can only imagine how many tons of material I have hauled around DrTom's in 29 years, usually in a wheelbarrow. One of the lessons I have learned from working on my property is that nothing found here is worthless. Everything has a use and a proper place. When I find stones in the garden, I throw them in the gravel driveway. Larger stones are used for rock walls, or for accumulating them in a large pile for snake habitat. Soil from a hole I dig is dumped in a low spot in another place. Weeds I pull are thrown into the compost pile along with the dog's manure where, you will remember, the temperature does not reach 170 degrees. All this material on the property is useful, it is just in the wrong place when I encounter it.

On the other hand, maybe it would be easier to change my perspective than to move all this stuff around. If I just decided that I liked a stony garden, or a weedy flower bed, or dog manure squishing between my toes, then I could save a lot of time and energy. Forget about any artificial Judeo-Christian sense of order in the world and follow a "what happens, happens" philosophy, or "what it is, man", or "it's all good", or "don't worry, be happy". Can I awake tomorrow and actually think like that? Can I adopt a new philosophy of life without attending a week-long course in the California redwoods with Deepak Chopra? Would I need drugs to make this transition, other than the 81mg aspirin I take every day to prevent a heart attack, the fish oil capsule to lower my cholesterol, and the calcium tablet to maintain my bone density? Can a 63-year old retired college professor become something he never was before?

I conclude that to effect the transition to this new state of being is more work than moving stones around my property. Sometimes coping with the way you have always been is less stressful than getting a makeover. And with that, I'm going out to the garage to oil the wheels on that old wheelbarrow.