All we certainly know about the future is it will be different than today. The only constant is change, and yet change terrifies the vast majority of us. We often don’t deal well with change, resist it, and misunderstand its implications.
I’m thinking about change for several reasons, but one is Tlell has been frozen for months and seems it may be frozen forever. But I know it won’t be. This is the positive side of knowing change is inevitable. I know fellow Tlellians, much more industrious than me, who are eagerly waiting for the frost to leave their beautiful gardens so life can return, gently encouraged by their skillful hands. But as I drive through town with both hands on the wheel, staring down the icy road ahead, spring seems like an abstract idea at best, almost impossible at times.
Of course, the experience of change isn’t passive. Our thoughts, experiences, perspective, and behaviours (learned and inherited) have a large effect. Yes, spring will come, but what will I do with that? Let’s suppose I suddenly decide to join the ranks of Tlell master gardeners. To do that, I will go through six stages — the cycle of change. Let’s see how it goes.
I have no intention to be a gardener. I enjoy my sister’s garden, which produces amazing food and often ripens exactly when she’s out of town for a while. She says I can go and help myself, so I do.
Suddenly, one year, my sister’s home all summer and I only get some limp rhubarb. I realize a problem exists, but I’m not going to commit to actually starting my own garden.
But then the apocalypse hits. Zombies are amassing in Rupert and threatening to come over on the next ferry. Usually generous islanders begin hoarding their food. So I google “growing an easy garden.” (The Internet is still working. Turns out zombies love the Internet, but that shouldn’t be a surprise.)
My garden boxes are built. So far, the zombie apocalypse has remained at bay. I fill the boxes with nurturing earth and begin to plant.
I dedicate time each day to tend my garden (rather than watching The Voice and drinking wine) and eagerly awai the first growth poking through.
Nothing grows. I realize the seed packages I found at the back of my closet were 10 years old and totally unable to germinate. I tell myself I hate gardening anyway. I dress in all black and sneak into my sister’s garden in the dark of night, stealing a bag of potatoes, some kale, and a greedy amount of rhubarb.
After some time, my sister notices I’m stealing from her and gives me a big sisterly talking-to. I can no longer stay in pre-contemplation. I move to contemplation, and start to address the problem, once again. This time I’ll be sure to find fresh seeds. I learn from my experience, build on it, moving in an upward spiral of change, and hopefully the relapse will be shorter and less devastating. I will have a garden.
Or the zombies will make it over and I’ll join their ranks instead. My concern for fresh vegetables will melt away, and I’ll chase another food source altogether.