Website of poet Elizabeth Rimmer

building resilience

This year is a “mast year” when some trees – particularly oak and beech – suddenly produce massive amounts of seed. It doesn’t mean there’s going to be a hard winter, it’s just a dodge some trees employ to make sure that every so often there’s more seed than the local predators can cope with, and therefore more chance that some of it might germinate.

It’s a form of resilience building, which is a concept I got from learning about permaculture and which I’m quite interested in just now. The thing is, it’s easy to be green when things are going well. Organic is worth the price, you have time to walk instead of driving, it’s not cold enough to miss the central heating anyway and the garden is coming along quite nicely, so there’s lots of lovely food to cook with —- you know the score.

But what happens when things get ugly? You default to the car and the junk food, that’s what. Or I do anyway.

So here’s what I learned about resilience.

Start slow and get it right. I’m going against the drift of my whole personality here, as I’m a great one for the clean sheet and the big picture. But don’t do that. Make small, well-thought out changes, and let them bed in. Habit and experience are your friends.

Make your life as easy and efficient as you can, within your green parameters. It’s difficult enough going outside the mainstream; if you add elaborate schemes and gadgets to the mix you are asking for trouble.

Expect to fail. Build in fall-backs, like freezing meals in batches so good food is as quick and easy as a carry-out in a crisis. And think of what might go wrong. Can you still cook if the electricity is off? or the water? What happens if there’s a flood (we won’t get inundated in our village, as the water will flow onto the other bank of the river, because it’s lower, but we might well be cut off) or heavy snow?

Don’t see green options as an extra, or a choice, because if you do, it will become a burden and expendable. Stop thinking you are doing the world a favour.

Make it fun. Build in beauty and joy and peace. Do what you love.

This post was inspired by what happened around here when life got crazy, but there are many people out there who are busier and even more up against it. How do you build in resilience?






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