What Can We Do?
My sister, a writer living in Teton Valley, Idaho, just published a piece in the Jackson Hole News and Guide about connection to place. She traces the connections she has forged with the places that have been her home to a time in her childhood when we were working on a badge for Girl Scouts, a time I’ve written about as well.
One of the requirements for the badge was to visit a place weekly to observe the changes. I don’t remember being very enthusiastic about the exercise, but our mother, who was also the leader of our troop, was. She found a place in the woods where we would stop on the way home from the barn to observe signs of early spring. We kept going long after the badge was completed. I’d forgotten how long, but Molly’s piece reminded me it was long enough for ice to form over the creek.
A few years ago, my mother read the piece I had written about that place and suggested I might be reading more into what had just been a stop on the way home from riding. The main event in her mind and in ours at the time was the time riding, not the rushed moment on the way home to dinner, in that big white van filled with a pack of kids.
I thought maybe she was right until I saw my sister’s piece. And I thought, who knows, really, what makes a difference in our children’s lives? Of all the many things we do and do not do each day, what are the things that might add up to something that matters? Given the turmoil in the world right now, given the demands calling from every direction for our attention, how do any of us know, really, what we can do that might make the difference that is needed?