So much stuff comes into our lives these days – or attempts to – that it can be hard to process it all. Some choices are easy: junk mail in the recycle bin, useful bags into the Bag of Useful Bags, last week’s newspaper into the kindling basket/worm farm/rodent cage, etc.
But other choices can be harder to make. Should I buy this petit objet? Should I accept this goody-bag? Should I chip in for this fundraiser even if I’m not that keen on what they’re selling?
While reading The Fellowship of the Ring, I came up with a useful measuring stick for these situations: is it mathom-worthy? That is, is it something that you could pass on to someone else, regift, or donate?
Not, I hasten to clarify, the kind of low-maintenance gardening that consists of blanketing everything in a layer of black plastic and piling grey stones on top. That kind of garden is low maintenance because there’s nothing living in it, no growth, and no change. (At least until the weeds arrive. Which they will.)
Rather, these books look at how to create a garden that doesn’t need a lot of intensive and continuing effort on your part, because the plants in it are functioning together the way plants function together in nature, and therefore they can, for the most part, manage just fine without you. Working with nature rather than against it.
As many of you know, I live in New Zealand, which is one of the countries doing pretty well pandemic-wise. But we are nonetheless encouraged to have masks on hand (actually, on face) when at close quarters with strangers at Level 2 or above, just as we are encouraged to have emergency supplies stashed about the place in case a big earthquake takes out all our infrastructure.
Now, there are, it turns out, some people who get huffy when asked to wear a mask. I am not one of them. I am always happy to don a mask and slip anonymously through the streets of the city. (Or at least, what would be anonymously if there was anyone else round here who dressed like me.) I mean, come on! This is your chance to let your inner superhero out for an airing at last, without people casting doubt on your adulthood. Masks are awesome.