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Earthworms’ Castings

With Jean Ponzi

I Am This Person

Stepping into 2018, a determined spark of Good Will is banked in my heart.
I won’t sugar coat this: 2017 was the hardest year I have lived through. Not because of illness or loss of loved ones. I’ve had those times. They were painful but luminous, with loving, healing, positive energies flowing around me and through my life. No comparison to the calendar interval we’ve just slogged through.

This past year I’ve felt almost constantly Angry. About ignorance, bombast, bullying and worse taking license to act out, as a norm, as if this brand of human being-hood is acceptable.

It Is Not.

I have struggled to control my outraged feelings. To daily rein in reactions and maintain any kind of positive attitude and influence. Not with much success.
Beneath this current of anger, I have been feeling a torrent of Grief.

How can one species justify our wanton destruction of Earth’s living systems? What makes our “community” better than any of Nature’s? What gives us the right to disrupt the overarching Climate of the planet we share with all other living beings? I have been grieving our destruction of Earth’s elegant, intricate, resilient systems that are struggling to withstand the forces of our dumb human greed.

Ethics of sustainable thinking and practice, that I have had some hand and heart in advancing, have been unbelievably overturned. I feel powerless – and angry – in the face of it all.

And this is only my one personal eco-focus. Many humans are feeling and dealing with more.

Nope, not a real good year.

In the midst of this, one day my beloved husband Dale repeated a request he’s made to me for the twenty-plus years of our marriage. He asked me to start clearing out the space in our basement where my decades of stuff (in banana boxes) has been stashed and ignored.

That one October Sunday, when he asked again, I calmly said, “Sure.” I started going through my hoard. I guess it was just finally time.
I am not a dumper of stuff. I love stuff: old stuff, cool stuff, weird and obscure stuff. Stuff I have used or thought I might use. Stuff I acquired because I just liked it. And stuff I did use, but can’t use again.

Like the pipe rack of dresses that don’t fit me now. Fabulous dresses – and skirts and tops – that I sported with flair at key points in my rather charmed life.

Most of what I’ve sorted through I’ve passed on, through diverse, resourceful channels I have established in the process of being Green Jean Ponzi. I haven’t had to landfill anything unless it was moldy or otherwise decayed. I’m proud to be able to pass things into hands where they may be appreciated and used again.

One of my Un-Earthings was a dress I designed and sewed for myself when I turned 30.
It’s made from two cotton fabrics. One is carnation pink, the other is a clear, cartoony print of primary colored long-tailed kites flying among clouds in the blue, blue sky. I appliqùed one of those kites onto the rosy bodice of the dress. And I wore it to parties celebrating – me! Those were blithe spirit days, early in my era of working for Earth, but before I had affirmed this as my Vocation. Life was really fun then. Like those print kites, I was soaring!

I did not give this dress away. It’s hanging on my bedroom door.

One day while I was sorting and disbursing (and unexpectedly healing by moving my stuff), my attention was arrested at our kitchen sink by the photograph, fixed to a cabinet there, taken on the day I turned 60, wearing silk and sunflowers.

That party was a Whitaker summer concert night, at Missouri Botanical Garden – the place I love where I have been working since the 1980s – and my dear friends in the Augusta Bottoms Consort were the band that week. I got to invite dozens of friends for a fabulous free outdoor soirée, and I didn’t have to cook, clean house or tidy up the yard. Others, on a grand scale, did that for me. My friend Trina Whitener, an amazing naturalist who worked at that time at World Bird Sanctuary, totally surprised me by bringing in a red-shouldered hawk that World Bird had rescued, a miraculous creature I got to release. My friend Robert Bowell captured the moment – I was tearfully, ecstatically unaware – when both the hawk and I took to the air.

At 30 and 60, I was soaring!

Life gives each of us epiphanies. That was one for me.

“Jean,” I said to myself, in earnest sincerity, “YOU ARE THIS PERSON.” This spirit, this purpose, this vivid levity. And I felt, to my soul, affirmed in powerful, uplifting perseverance.

Then I extrapolated: I AM THIS PERSON and EARTH IS THIS EARTH. We both will persevere in our True Natures, to thrive beyond an era when no longer needed stuff is purging.

Like colorful kites and a rejuvenated hawk, my beloved Planet Home and I will thrive, to soar in Beauty, in the blue, blue sky.

Goes around, comes around. Keeping stuff moving, in this personal life, contributes to needed movement, overall, for our species, Human KIND.

I will keep working – and playing – to create this Reality, for All My Relations.

Wonder what I’ll get to wear at 90?

Join Jean Ponzi for weekly Green conversations in the KDHX Earthworms podcasts, available at podcasts.kdhx.org or through iTunes.

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