What Would You Choose?

Carol A. Hand

We teach the next generations
through our lived example
how to care for the earth
and all our relations
We’re ever creating the world
our children and grandchildren will inherit
across all of earth’s imaginary boundaries
and within diverse fictive nations

The question to consider
is what we want that world to be

Do we teach children to care,
cooperate, and conserve?
Or do we teach them to compete,
conquer, and consume?

The answers matter profoundly
but we need to remember
awareness can’t be imposed
through legislation
It can only be encouraged
through living examples
that offer another kind of education
opening up new possibilities
that demonstrate the value
of compassionate contemplation

A lesson from an “Inchworm”


Sometimes it feels futile and foolish to work on creating healthy gardens on a city lot that has long been neglected. Factories just to the east churn out foul-smelling toxic fumes. My neighbor on one side has spent more than a decade burying garbage along the fence-line. Lately, the garbage has merely been left exposed, joined by plastic toys his children abandon when their interest wanes.

I have tried to engage in reasoned conversations and offered to help create a healthy landscaped transition. My words have fallen on deaf ears. Perhaps suggestions from an Ojibwe grandmother (you know, a triple whammy – age, gender, and ancestry) even exacerbated his unwillingness to consider alternatives. The experience has taught me how profoundly cultures and life experiences affect our ability to discern how our everyday choices affect what our children learn and the health of the environments they will inherit.

I’ve been told it’s a matter of perspective. Some prefer landfills that will someday look like manicured lawns despite the toxic or dangerous things that are hidden from sight, while others prefer healthy gardens.

May 31, 2014

May 23, 2018


I still wonder, though, how someone who claims to love children doesn’t seem to realize his actions are destroying a child’s garden.

July 3, 2015 – My granddaughter standing next to the garden she helped create.

May 23, 2018 – Damage control in process as the wooden divide grows ever higher to protect my granddaughter’s garden from the growing pile of refuse (including piles of dog feces).


17 thoughts on “What Would You Choose?

  1. Your neighbor is suffering from living under and loving a capitalist system of work-consume-go in debt, repeat until death, which deadens the mind, the heart and the soul, Carol. As I am you already know.

    This government/political/economic-system is, and has been , a malignant tumor, a curse, on humanity and the planet. And I am more than aware that you, Carol, know this better than I; since my paternal ancestors were part of the European hoard who invaded your ancestors’ lives and lands, over four centuries ago. And until it this malignancy is completely removed, along with the European type, the malignancy will continue to spread and destroy everything it touches.

    If I could wish for anything, Carol, I would wish for the disenfranchised working and poor peoples of this world to come out from underneath the cover of their individual governments/political and economics systems, and unite against the tyranny of this age old system of “the chosen” few ruling over the many.

    But I have lost most of my hope, not that it was strong to begin with. Maybe we are here by chance and mutation, and thus, we will all soon become extinct? I don’t know, Carol.

    But I sense the longing in your words here, and you are not alone!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Dear Miss Carol, We, me and my old pappy, always enjoy your cheery and positive posts. We also marvel at your ability to remain so, even when faced with silly and ignorant adversity. Your dear neighbor is apparently a patriotic soul (noticing the flag on his house), but must not know what patriotism is all about. We live in an age of many misinformed citizens, unfortunately due our good old tellys! i.e.: Fox “news.”
    BTW: Please check for my blog coming out real SOON on “Saving our good old USofA, but please don’t hold your breath while waiting. (O:

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The idea of modelling is not always rewarding, but even here we are dealing with closed minds that are clearly anxious that the old ways are not helping, yet habit is addictive and protective. We have developed a culture of taking but never respecting the relationships of nature and now no-one can conceive that we need to live differently. Fear drives habits too. Don’t give up, modelling is the only way – living our talk. I suspect you’re right – the trifecta is another element of that old culture. Bit by bit though you/we, will make an impact.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I love this planet! I love it’s colors, blue, green, brown, yellow, all them. I love it’s all stones, all waters, all mountains, all seas, all plants, all animals! I love even the most ridiculous animals like Aye-aye.:) And I love the efforts of some people like you who try to protect the vitality of this planet! You are doing great things, even if you some times think they are small; they are really big and great things! Thank you Carol, for the things you do from heart!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I feel your frustration and sense of futility. But I agree that living our truth (walking our talk) is the only true path to change; everything else is empty words, bellows for the fires of greed, competition, and consumption. We cannot “sell” truth to those who cannot abide the lack of instant gratification.

    On the positive side, our grandchildren seem much more open to possibilities, and their willingness to mimic healthy attitudes and actions gives me cause to hope…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The good point here dear Carol is that you are doing your part, and no matter how insignificant it might appear to you, in the end is what promotes real change. This posts leaves an invaluable lesson for all of us and that will bring a bigger change in many places. you have made a very important move and we all will remember this lesson in our hearts. Thanks for sharing! We are aware now.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Carol, a very thoughtful post and a wonderful photo of your Granddaughter standing beside the garden she and you worked on. While I am in the mountains I often come across places where people have been destructive, left garbage, or worse. It burns my ass, to say the least. But then I see the huge clearcuts the government has allowed. I wonder if people just feel overwhelmed at the widespread carnage and figure their little bit of destruction doesn’t matter? Our collective mistake is feeling numb to it all. A good example is a powerful thing, even if it seems to act too slowly for our liking. I also see a few pansies at your Granddaughters feet and, what looks like, sunflowers just starting. It is always good to have small hands helping in the garden. Take care. Bob

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Bob, thank you so much for your thoughtful comments. As you know, it’s a joy to spend time with grandchildren who see wonder in nature and love feeling they can help take care of the earth. 🙂

      It’s difficult to witness others teaching children not to care, but all I can do in this situation is to keep creating anyway. It gives me a great opportunity to learn patience, detachment, and humility – to act because it’s what I must do to honor life, not because I expect it to change what others do.

      I’m sad to hear people treat the mountains with the same careless disregard. Yet you share and preserve the beauty with your photos and stories, touching hearts and inspiring imagination with grizzlies, grandchildren, and night skies. Chi miigwetch, dear friend. ❤


  8. Sad observations which go to show that “Earthians” for the most part are completely disconnected from their living and necessary environment. I could tell horror stories of garbage and pollution I observe around here running through trails and kayaking the Hope and Fraser rivers. A river, based on the general mindset, is a convenient place in which to dump offal, kitchen wastes and unwanted items that would require a little extra effort to haul off to several free recycling centres. Most people just can’t be bothered, having grown up with the idea that Canada is a large country with a small population and there’s lots of room for the garbage…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Carol, my heart goes out to you living with your neighbours mess. The first photo of your granddaughter, standing proudly by her garden is adorable…showing everything that is right with the world. How sad it has come to this. Is there no ‘environmental control’ at a local government level that one can contact? I know people who have had similar problem with dog mess and by law they can be compelled to dispose and cease this happening so close to yours as this is health hazard.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I so wanted to reply to your post from earlier today Carol. And I don’t want to you have to reply!!! I just wanted to say that I’m so sorry you are going through this difficult time of ill health. And I will be lifting you up in prayer and ask that you be granted comfort, freedom from pain, and restoration of your health and well being. You have always been a favorite of mine and you have a beautiful, gentle, and loving spirit. I love you and wish for you better days my dear friend. Love and hugs, N 🙂 ❤ xoxoxoxoxo

    Liked by 1 person

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