By JO CLEARWATER
How glorious to live in this beautiful region of the Catskill foothills! As I travel the river corridor, I cannot help becoming overwhelmed with a sense of appreciation for this place. It has been wondrous to me, having lived so many places and visited so many others, just how much we have been given.
The river, gently flowing, asks our eyes to partake of the beauty that embanks it. But what we have is not simply something nice to look at! Traveling our roads I observe literally dozens of beneficial, medicinal plants along the roadside. The native flora put here for our benefit is a treasure to be sure.
The diversity of fauna is simply awesome. The river utterly teems with life; the shores and woodlands are awash with a myriad of walking, crawling, and gently fluttering thingsso much life, too numerous to mention.
I realize how easy it is to drive by, absorbed in the machinations of our daily lives, hurrying from place to place involved so deeply in our tiny microcosms that it all becomes somewhat of a green blur.
And this is unfortunately how we often regard it: there, yet not, and certainly disconnected from what our reality dictates as important or intrinsic.
This is where the Visioning Process comes in. Seeing, looking, watching… these are truly the first steps. Becoming aware of what is around us at this moment and affirming its importance. Appreciating.
The next step is to see even more widely, to become aware of the interconnectedness of that which surrounds us. Recognize that, like a pebble thrown into a quiet pond, the ripple of what we do is far-reaching.
Then, we attempt to see our impact: first in our own lives and immediate surroundings, and then in our neighborhoods and communities, villages and towns, outward and beyond. We look to see what is good, and also what needs to be improved upon.
Now we look to the future: we envision. Growth and development are inevitable, but they do not have to be a bad thing. Carefully done, they can adjunct our lives, facilitate our economies, and even improve our lifestyles. However, we must manage the process, lest it take us over!
And so this brings us to the action part of the Visioning Process: becoming involved, deciding that visioning has relevance in our lives and for our families, and acting upon it.
It is the concept of a legacy. We truly own nothing permanently in this life; we are merely the stewards of what we have. We have an obligation to pass it on in the best condition possible, for posterity and for our families. Our decision is like the pebbles ripple: our smallest action will affect not only our lives, but those of our loved ones, those that rustle and resonate in the forests of our communities, and those in decades to come. Let us leave our legacy; let us become involved in our collective future; let us love our home.
[Jo Clearwater has been an organic farmer for nearly 30 years. She operates Clearwater Acres, a small, synergistic teaching farm in Damascus.]