Good Work Well Oiled

Whether it be the full force of directed disgust, or the pleasant crippling that comes of happy tears, whether it be the tiny new plant that forces itself through the pavement towards the sunlight, or the intense purposefulness of honey bees, all these things and a billion more remind us, whenever we allow ourselves to be reminded, that life is magical and wondrous. And that life needs us to be good, productive, respectful, beneficial members of nature’s order. LRM

“Welcome aboard, Mr. Pilgrim,” said the loudspeaker. “Any questions?”

Billy licked his lips, thought a while, inquired at last: “Why me?”

“That is a very Earthling question to ask, Mr. Pilgrim. Why you? Why us for that matter? Why anything? Because this moment simply is. Have you ever seen bugs trapped in amber?”

“Yes.” Billy, in fact, had a paperweight in his office which was a blob of polished amber with three ladybugs imbedded in it.

“Well, here we are, Mr. Pilgrim, trapped in the amber of this moment. There is no why.”

Kurt Vonnegut – Slaughterhouse Five

Do you see yourself growing things, making things, fixing things, changing things, protecting things? Answers to those questions might take you to knowing whether or not you need to be in science, in theater, in sports, in medicine, in politics, in school, in farming.


For some of us such a process of envisioning futures might invite those limiting prejudices that would have any arena tainted by preconceptions. Take farming and a life out of doors for example: we know of folks to whom such an idea is threatening, even frightening and/or demeaning because for them it conjures a view of a bleak and unforgiving landscape, loneliness, hardship, and deprivation. While for others it instantly brings to mind gardens, forests, ripening grains, rows of vegetables, saddle horses, heavily ladened fruit trees, busy bees, continuity, bucolic scenes of livestock, and interlocking patchworks of fields. One prejudice holds certain folks off, while the other is purest agreeable invitation. It makes us suspect that getting inside of such a world of fertile complexity would allow security and an abiding sense of place.

The world keeps getting smaller as solid working class folk rediscover every single day that family, friends, neighbors, the locale of local, the close-in economies, the character of all nearby things animate and inanimate give comfort, identity, and reasons to strive, to persist and to succeed. And within that is the discovery that living within our means, within our community, within our families, though perhaps rightly seen as the essence of thrift, does deliver us the truest lasting wealth and useful health. LRM