This week’s post starts with a quote from Martin Luther: “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” This summarizes, I think, the best way to go about prepping, and (by extension) the way many preppers are doing it wrong.
If you are of the doom-and-gloom apocalyptic set, you still need to be ready for the “just in case” things don’t go as badly as you thought–what will you do for tomorrow, or the day after? The odds of something taking everything out in a moment are so slim on any one day as to be silly. If you, like me, are of the “slow collapse” school, planting that apple tree not only makes good long-term sense, it’s one more step in having things ready to go in the shorter term.
The point to planting trees–or anything else in your garden–isn’t simply for the food. Planting a tree particularly shows a certain amount of faith in the future. Even if not for yourself, but for those who follow after you. The work that goes into growing things also has its own Zen-like spirituality. If you can’t focus, just for a while, on the elegantly simple complexity of tending the garden, it will soon get overrun.
Then there’s the simple, purely aesthetic joy of watching the plants. Early in the season, they break ground, and the shoots rise steadily, unfurling leaves looking for the sun. Later into spring and summer, as the blossoms come and go, and the resulting fruits set and begin to ripen. Observing the harvest approach, with things coloring to just the right shades of red, green, and orange. Then, in the late fall, putting the garden to bed for the winter, with the promise of spring yet to come again.
We can spend our time worrying about war, or sickness and disease, or financial collapse. We can worry about what our neighbors are (or aren’t) doing, what the next town or county or state or country is (or isn’t) doing. We can frantically try to amass “bullets, beans, and band-aids,” building bunkers and going slowly paranoid.
We still need to focus, now and again, on today, on the now. With a nod to Reddit for having provided the inspiration, I’ll end with another quote, from Candide:
“All that is very well,” answered Candide, “but let us cultivate our garden.”
How well is yours being cultivated?