The Great Unfinished

 

 

 

awesome_vintage_photos_with_animals_ girl dog

 

 

42 drafts…well 43 drafts sit here waiting in my to do box like faithful canine friends patiently awaiting my return.  They sit in various forms of completion and come in all shapes and sizes; some are tiny puppies of a paragraph or two, others are stately Great Danes of considerable verbiage that lack a certain something, a doneness, something beyond simple edits and rewrites.  I cannot truly write anything worthy before it’s time. The moment must be right.

And so as a result…

They are an ever-growing mass,  these unfinished ones. They haunt the corners of this blog walking from room to room looking for something. Some whine for attention, others howl,  most  just sit there.  As you have probably guessed, I have a case of chronic procrastination. I have always been this way;  I start a multitude of  creative projects only to have them linger in some state of  incompletion.  I am sort of infamous around here, at least at the little red house on 79th street, for having a million and one ideas that I never follow through on.

As time goes on this weighs on me more and more. These unfinished things represent this whole tendency of mine and along with my Asperger’s has served as my excuse for my holding myself back from participating in life. I’ve always been a terrific starter but a horrible finisher.
And there is such a multitude of business…my mind comes on like a radio with a half a dozen stations all competing for my attention. At times it can be hard to pick just one. One idea will give birth to the next. And one draft can easily grow into two or more. Many cousins akin to these drafts are finished posts which haunt the “pages” of this site.

I am a little person with big ideas. Lots of silly ones but others I think may be quite viable. My dream job would be to come up with great ideas for others to implement and charge them for it.     I would keep busy in a glorious garden adjacent to a greenhouse with a big lemon tree in the center. Mario, my cat would be my assistant and we would think up great ideas all day while drinking coffee and having fun.

Seriously…

I am over 40, my kids are almost grown. Time is passing. And the time seems right to finish something I suppose.  It has been three years since I began this blog; this “great” experiment. My 200 + published posts on this blog have shown me that I can finish something and something I can be proud of. I just have to buy into the hype I been selling: I need to believe and have faith and just do it…

 

cat face

Update: Well..I did it I summoned up the courage and submitted my first  piece for publication. I don’t expect to hear anything, it would be a miracle if I did.  I had an anxiety attack. I don’t know why.

 

It is a beginning…

~Nancy

 

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“Human life is but a series of footnotes to a vast obscure unfinished masterpiece”
Vladimir Nabokov

 

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Schubert: Unfinished Symphony No.8

 

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Save The Dirt

 
 
Dirt-525 
 
 
Dirt has a bad name.  We assign it to foul, perverted things. Icky nasty things we do not touch lest it taint us, infect us. We are a society bent on cleanliness; antiseptic-ness. We pride ourselves in our civilized approach to dirt.  Filth is what animals live in not we who are above such things. 
That dirt which lies beneath our feet, it is alive, that soil; a  mosaic of organic-ness which makes up much of our planet. We don’t think much of it but it’s there.  We walk on it, build our homes on it, plant our food in it. It’s what holds it all together and it’s more important than people realize.
 
Throughout history, civilizations have prospered or declined as a result of the availability and productivity of their soils.  Soil resources are critical to the environment as well as food production.

Soil is defined as a natural body consisting of layers that are primarily composed of minerals, mixed with organic matter. It is the loose covering of fine rock particles that covers the surface of the earth and is the end product of the influence of the climate, organisms, minerals and the passage of time.

When used in agriculture, it serves as the anchor and primary nutrient base for plants and soil resources that are crucial to the environment.  It absorbs rainwater and releases it later, helping to prevent floods and drought. It cleans the water acting like a sponge as the water percolates through it.

Soil is the most abundant ecosystem on Earth and is home to countless lifeforms; invertebrates, bacteria, fungi and algae.   It supports and plays a crucial role in all life on this planet.

 

Soil food web 

Good soil should contain a healthy mixture of soil-based organisms. These are the naturally occurring micro-organisms that release powerful enzymes responsible for keeping it free of molds, yeasts, fungi and other parasites which would otherwise make normal plant growth impossible. These organisms fix nitrogen from the atmosphere into the soil and decompose organic compounds, including manure, plant residue, and pesticides; helping to prevent them from entering waterways and becoming pollutants.

The primary home of the vast soil food web is the topsoil. It’s the top layer of soil and contains most of the available nutrients. It’s where most of the biological activity takes place.

 

dirtFarmer_and_tractor_tilling_soil 
Scientists believe that 24 billion tons of topsoil are lost every year to erosion by wind, water and other causes including the way we feed the planet. Conventional agriculture encourages the depletion of topsoil because the soil must be plowed and replanted each year.  Many experts believe that our chemical dependencies are stripping the soil of its life-giving properties and turning it into unproductive, thus, lifeless dirt.  One inch of topsoil can take 500 years to form naturally. According to current trends, the world has about 60 years of topsoil left.
 
 

 Topsoil erosion occurs when the topsoil layer is blown or washed away. Without topsoil, little plant life is possible. This is a phenomenon known as the Aeolian processes.  This has happened before notably during the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s when a period of severe dust storms greatly damaged the ecology and agriculture of the US and Canadian prairies.

On a dry grassland, the grass rooted into the soil can be the only thing keeping the soil stable. If too many animals are allowed to graze for too long, the grass can be stripped away and the soil will lose its anchoring roots. The area can become a desert. This is called desertification. Desertification and soil loss is a worldwide problem.

 
Dust storm blowing into Dodge City. The worst storm recorded was Black Sunday, April 15, 1935. Survivors talked of dust so thick it drifted like snow.
Dust storm blowing into Dodge City. The worst storm recorded was Black Sunday, April 15, 1935. Survivors talked of dust so thick it drifted like snow.

 

“According to the United Nations desertification is a creeping catastrophe. Already creating millions of environmental refugees worldwide every year, one third of the earth’s surface and the livelihoods of at least one billion people are threatened.” 

 By The Future World Project

 

A Turkana man herds livestock back from grazing grounds in Kenya, Africa where desertification in a problem.
A Turkana man herds livestock back from grazing grounds in Kenya, Africa where desertification in a problem.

 

This problem only deepens through time.  As our global population continues to swell and demand for food increases, our ability to feed the world will become more difficult and in time perhaps impossible. Once land is lost it’s hard to gain it back. I know dirt isn’t exciting, most of us don’t think of it beyond a few scientists and the odd nut like me, but we all can do something about it. It is our planet and we have to right to our existence because it’s down to that.   We need responsible and sustainable land stewardship not just here and there but everywhere.

A great place to start is at home, in our own yards.  The website Wikihow features an excellent article; How to Prevent Soil Erosion . It is focused on what the average person can do about soil erosion at home and in the community. It is on the small scale but a good start.

Beyond that I think we the people need to raise awareness about this problem and through societal and monetary pressure persuade the movers and shakers in this world that we care about our topsoil and the future of the food supply. And that steps must be taken to prevent further loss and to reverse bad farming and land management practices. We need to adapt sustainable farming practices that encourage the development of a healthy topsoil by rewarding those who regenerate the environment and produce food that supports a healthier society.     Most importantly we need to change the way we think about soil and how we use it. We must treasure it as the precious natural resource it is.

Future generations are counting on us… 

Have a fruitful day,

Nancy

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“A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. 
― Franklin D. Roosevelt

 
 desertification in Niger soil dirt
 
 
 
 “The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.”
― Wendell Berry
 
community-garden-thanks-to-green-guerillas
 
 

References and Related Articles 

  

Woody Guthrie — This Land is Your Land Youtube

Health Benefits of Soil Based Organisms (positivehealth.com)   

Soil Food Web (soils.usda.gov) 

How to Prevent Soil Erosion  Wikihow.com.

We Are What We Eat: Topsoil erosion  YouTube  

Topsoil – 1948 Educational Documentary   

What if the world’s soil runs out?  Time.com  

Losing Ground: Re-thinking soil as a renewal resource (fewresources.org)  

Soil Food Web (soils.usda.gov) 

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Aspire to Inspire

ASPIRE:  To seek to attain or accomplish a particular goal.

Middle English, from Middle French or Latin; Middle Frenchaspirer, from Latin aspirare, literally, to breathe upon, fromad- + spirare to breathe.

To aspire is to dare. To dare to want more. 

Aspire is the desire to propel oneself skyward. It is born in the heart like a flame that burns hot with the passion of want. Dreams fuel aspiration. Passion drives it and hard work makes it so.  With care and feeding  aspirations can grow wings and set flight to all points amazing…

 

Mount-Haleakala-Hawaii

 

We are what we aspire to. Our dreams define us.

I have a dream; one I never knew I had until fairly recently. I found it huddled under a pile of forgotten hopes that I had neglected to remember I’d left it in the back of my closet.  I could exaggerate and press upon you this jive about a noble truth that propels me. I might confess a deficiency I have and this need to make up for what I’ve felt I have lacked in my life. The truth is I did not purposely seek this road.  In the beginning all I sought was my own salvation.

I had walked in darkness for many years and yearned to find my way back into the light. I knew fulfillment and happiness lives there but in the dark it’s difficult to see.  It’s lonely out there, at least it seems so…but I learned something important. I realized I wasn’t alone and there are others out there in the dark reaching for the light just the same as I… and not knowing where to find it. This simple truth eluded me for years. It is my truth but not mine alone….

By helping others we help ourselves.

It is tempting to take credit; to say that my stirrings to inspire are purely unselfish but the truth is; I aspire to inspire because it feels so damn good..besides I really don’t know any other way.

I have found that people who have struggled, who have fought something bigger than themselves…who have had life hurt them have a yearning to light the way for others, to say: “I’ve been where you are now and there is a light at the end of the tunnel…I know because I can see it.” 

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We all need help from time to time…

I believe greatness abounds. There is greatness in you and there is greatness in me but the greatest greatness lies in we. Our fullest potential is alive and well and it is just within our grasp. Sometimes all we need is a pat on the back, a smile and a reassuring voice.  Everybody needs this..no one is above it. It is basic. It is human and it is beautiful.

 

We are the content creators; the writers, the artists, the dreamers. We are a unique breed who yearn to inspirit and inflame others with that magic spark that burns so bright in our hearts and souls.

 

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This wonderful planet of ours is teeming with inspiration. One just needs to know where to look and one need not look far. I have found much inspiration in the words of many of you in this wonderful creative community of ours.  Through your posts and comments I have learned so much!  Time and time again I’ve experienced firsthand that no matter how different we may seem on the outside, we are alike on the inside. We all need insight and inspiration from time to time and I have surely gotten this from you. Thank you for sharing your world with me.

 

 

Wishing you an inspired day

Nancy

woman sitting on rock sunset shadow contemplation

Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.” 
― Louisa May Alcott