Friday, January 1, 2010

The Better Angels of Our Nature

It's that time of year that encourages us to listen to the better angels of our nature. People are writing about their goals, resolutions, revolutions and projects for 2010. I know that over the past year many of the blogistes that I read regularly have inspired me to do better, do more, keep pursuing my ambitions, strengthen my community, make the world a better place.

Last night a thought came to me as I contemplated what more I could be doing. "What would Rob do?" Conveniently, Rob had just told us what he would do. He would be proud of me if I got to know my neighbors better than our current nodding acquaintance affords. Then I continued with that train of thought...what would make El proud of me? She and Ali both would encourage me to get my act together this year with regards to season extension. Kathy would be so tickled if I gathered up my garden tools, and cleaned, sharpened, oiled and organized them all so that they're ready to go in the spring, and if I finally figured out how to organize my canning lids and rings. Julie would be proud if I made a pledge to use absolutely no more plastic shopping bags - ever. Sharon would be proud if I resolved to use less electricity in 2010 than we did in 2009, and actually managed to do so. And Wendy would be proud of me if I made a commitment to source all of my dairy locally.

It's not so much that I crave the approbation of these writers. I think rather it's that in various ways these writers are the voices of the better angels of my nature. I think that's what draws me to their writing in the first place. As I sat there going through the mental roster of my blog roll and what actions they spur me towards, I realized that each one of these things are possible for me, starting right now. There's nothing stopping me from doing any of these things. Having already changed many of my behaviors that were once routine, I know that however accustomed I am to doing something, however inconvenient a change may initially seem, once a new habit replaces the old behavior, it seems normal and unremarkable to practice the new habit. It only takes a bit of short-term discipline and motivation to adopt many a new habit; after that the new habit is the routine. There are countless examples of this in my own life.

So I'm going to work on these things this year, in addition to all those other crazy projects I've already posted about. I may not succeed perfectly, but that's hardly the point. The point is to begin and to try. But what about you? Are you drawn to read blogs which sound like the better angels of your nature? Or do you read for other reasons? Would you like to make your blog roll authors proud? What are some things you could do that you think would accomplish that? I'm dying to read your responses, and you can name names, or not, as you wish!


Wendy said...

I'm drawn to blogs in which the authors are living similarly to me and have similar goals as I have, because I can learn a lot about how to proceed from them. Like you and the rocket stove you built this year, or your bucket garden.

I love reading the blogs of people who have suburban gardens, especially those who are working toward self-sufficiency. I have a lot to learn about gardening and food production ;).

I like reading the blogs of people who do a lot of food preservation and cooking, because I grew up eating canned food and stuff from boxes, and every thing I know about canning and cooking I've learned in just the past few years.

I also love reading the blogs of people who are documenting the current events and how they are responding to them, because it is good for me to know that I'm not the only one who is frustrated by what's happening and feeling a little helpless to affect any positive change.

The list of my favorite blogs is pretty long, and so I won't mention (too many) names, except, there's you ;), and Sharon (at least before she moved ;), and the O'Melays, Robbyn (in Florida), Chile, Phelan (homesteading Neophyte), and Fleecenik (who is a 'real-life' friend, as well as a favorite blog-writer ;).

There's so much good about the community we have here on the Internet, and so many wonderful people. Thanks for the great post, Kate :).

Anonymous said...

When I started reading blogs, I got lots of great ideas. Some I'd implement, some I'd research, some just got filed away in my brain.

Then some of the actions I'd implemented became habits, and others I'd do sporadically.

Then, I'd be caught up on a blog (like No Impact Man and Crunchy Chicken--my "gateway" blogs, if you will) so I'd check out their blog roll. More voices, more ideas, then hold on--bloggers from my area who knew about resources that I didn't. (Everyone knows about the farmer's markets at the mall, but not about the year round Homesteader's Market.)

With more resources, it became easier to implement those earlier ideas.

Now I'm really working on consistency. I know what to do, but sometimes get a little lazy about things like hanging clothes to dry.

Anyway, I recently found your blog from Crunchy Chicken's website and am reading through the older posts, as well. It's a wonderful blog, and I'm sure you'll accomplish a lot in 2010!

Anonymous said...

An angel, eh? Clearly, you are only getting my public persona!

Thanks for the kudos, I am glad I inspire. Believe me, I've learned a ton from you as well! I'm now regularly adding comfrey to the compost pile, and one of these days I'm going to build a smoker and smoke me some tomatoes and peppers!

Anonymous said...

ps, love the new header,

Wendy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
el said...

Aw, Kate. You know I am proud of you. But I agree with Ali, obviously it's our public, angelic personas you're responding to :)

The one thing I hope for you in 2010 is that you don't beat yourself up too much if you fall short of your either publicly or privately stated goals. It's not a race but a journey! A tasty journey too if it involves the garden or the chickens...and a satisfying one too if you look back and see how far you've come.

happy 2010!

Siegfried said...

Kate, have you considered making some banners for your blog?
I want to change banners on my site (currently I have some comic-related ones), I could add yours - of course for free, no strings attached :)
size is 468x60 pixels.

Kate said...

Wendy, I have lots to learn too, which is another reason why I read most of the blogs I do.

Anon, I think I make changes in much the same way as you do. Some immediately, some eventually, some slowly, some abruptly. And I too find new blogs to enjoy via my recommendations from my blog roll and comments sections.

Ali & El, clearly you've misread me ;) I never said you were angels! Only the *voices* of the angels of my better nature. The voices of the angels of my *worse* nature, well, we're not going to name names there. I can go you round for round with the public-private personal thing, my dears. And Ali, thanks for the vote of approval for the banner. I'm not too tech savvy, so still feeling my way with things bloggish.

Siegfried, see the above response. I do what I can with the banner/header thing, which is to say, not much. If you want to link to some of your work, I'll be happy to take a look at it.

Wendy said...

Kate! You write so well- what a treat! Thom is drooling over your guanciale. Your blog has opened the door to a whole new community...thank you!

Wendy said...

OOPS! I see there's already a Wendy poster :-) I'll have to add a "G" ...Wendy G