The new falcon herald logo.
General Articles

A waste of time

I am suboptimal. One of my engineer friends has proclaimed it. Every spring, I plant little conservation trees. Every year, I water my new spring seedling trees by hand. Now that rain barrels are legal in Colorado, I no longer get to enjoy a secret criminal thrill, surreptitiously watering trees with two old laundry soap buckets. The secret rainwater to the trees romance is gone. Now, I am just suboptimal. “A waste of time,” my engineer friend reminds me. “Lugging those buckets is just dumb.”He tells me he will not have trees unless he can water them with the flip of a switch on an elaborate, highly intelligent drip irrigation system that he has planned in his head. Chastised, I lug buckets of greenish rainwater and think. The little trees are looking well. Seedling trees from previous years are growing strong and now need little or no attention from me, depending on their age and establishment. I fill my buckets, then fill my lungs with sweet springtime air and admire growing things. The mind wanders doing a relaxing yet physical task. I smile thinking of some of my friends and suboptimal moments in their lives.Greg has a cabin in the mountains. I’ve told Greg that he must be an environmentalist. A developer, you see, is someone who plans to knock down some trees and build a cabin in the mountains. An environmentalist is, of course, someone who has a cabin in the mountains.I pour water through the mulch around a little tree and chuckle to myself. Greg had a suboptimal moment last summer. Leaving the back door of his cabin for the short trip to the outhouse, he arrives, closes the crescent moon door and settles in for what he thinks is some peaceful privacy. He is being observed. Turning their heads this way and that, studying this human intruder intently, hornets begin to mass on the bottom of their basketball-sized nest in the upper right corner of Greg’s outhouse. Greg doesn’t notice the hornets or their huge nest right away and when he at last does notice – it is too late. He is in process. Worry has come to the serene mountains. Suboptimal indeed! He should have an indoor bathroom with a flush toilet, by golly! Of course, such an expensive upgrade would have laid the kabosh to the whole idea of having a cabin in the mountains.And so it goes. The barn cats keep me company. They follow me back and forth while I hike with the buckets. The cats flop down at my feet as I walk. Their presence demands that I stop and scratch ears and enjoy some purring. I see the chickens pecking under some larger trees, happy to be out of their yard and searching out tender shoots of spring grass, their fluffy under feathers blowing like petticoats in the breeze. The first trees I’d planted long ago are taller than I am. Our kids watered those when they were young and lived at home with us. When they come out to the ranch with their significant others, they tell the tale of drudgery, of watering trees with (small) buckets or a hose. But then they proudly take their friend out to see the trees, to show them and to admire how the trees have grown. Drudgery or no, the kids were a part of something good. Those tall junipers and pines exist in proud health today because someone cared for them early on.Will a new house out on the high prairie become a homestead or just remain a barren stump on the plains? Trees make the difference – to birds and people and a home. A little vision, some determination and love make a big difference in changing a house from simply a place to sleep into a place to be and grow and be healed from life, a respite from the frenetic world. The rustle of green leaves, sunlight dappling through to a deck or porch, the sough of pine needles in the breeze, and song birds going about their very busy lives – these things unclench our hearts and relax our mad monkey minds in such subtlety that we just feel better and don’t know or think about why.Caring for trees or chickens or the barn cats is such simple, basic and good work. Would my mind be able to wander if I were inside with the TV?My buddy, Greg, did manage to escape the hornets’ gathering wrath. Walking with buckets and cats, I chuckle. Maybe the hornets did him a favor. I imagine that he was out of that outhouse so fast that the black widows under the wooden seat didn’t have time to plan their attack on some very tempting white meat.My engineer friend with the plan for an elaborate drip system has lived in his house for many years now. A good house, well-built and suited to the prairie, it remains a stump with no birds, no privacy, no break from the wind and no shade. Walking back to the rain barrel with empty buckets, I know I am suboptimal and inefficient. Why would anyone want to walk back and forth over their land listening to birds and admiring growth and the light and shadow playing on rolling prairie hills and breathing fresh air? Who wants to connect with trees, land and prairie birds when you could be inside watching TV after all?There is something worse than inefficiency, I think. I smile. Never planting any trees at all because one is daunted by the cost and complexity of an imaginary drip system comes to mind. Trees are natural optimists and they invite you to share that. No matter what life may bring, your trees grow. Trees that you’ve planted and nourished are always there, always growing and awaiting your remembering and admiration. They ground you and lend a bit of perspective to life. Welcome and rest is found in a home surrounded and sheltered by trees.Tom

StratusIQ Fiber Internet Falcon Advertisement

Current Weather

Weather Cams by StratusIQ

Search Advertisers