How to Save the World

blackberries

Working in the garden, you can’t help but feel it: the looming threat of another Texas summer. Each day a little hotter, the sunlight starting to bleach the afternoon sky.

You always hope for a cool, rainy year, but you’re braced for the early signs of a scorcher. And those fears prompt darker ones. You hope there’s still time to change the future, but the warning signs are there, too, piling up faster and faster. They point to the worst-case scenario, the one where we don’t change. The one where good people who just didn’t do enough will have to watch the world burn. You feel called to help stop it, help people see, make a difference – but you have no idea what one person can possibly do.

Stop.

Look at where you are, right here, right now. Take an honest look at the offerings you’ve brought your garden: worry, anxiety, judgement, despair. Concern that there’s not enough mulch or water to keep the soil cool. Fear that these fledgling trees won’t survive the summer heat. Enough anger to strike sparks into the tinder-dry grass.

Here’s how you save the world: get out of the harsh sun and into the shade. Breathe. Follow the dry streambed and the faint sound of water running over stone. Kick off your boots, roll up your jeans and step into the shallows. Delight in the sharp chill of water rolling over your bare feet.

Better yet, grab a pair of cutoffs and a bunch of friends and head for the blue-green of the swimming hole you played in as kids. Swing out as high as you can on an old rope swing and let go.

Let go.

Float on your back and watch the clouds go by. Let every worry and obligation drift away downstream. Surrender your despair and anger. Abandon all hope that your grim solitary effort, out there in the blazing sun, can shift the balance.

Here’s how you save the world: go pick blackberries. Take your time: reach slowly into the thorns, feeling for the ripest berries – the ones so soft they almost fall apart at your touch, staining your fingers purple. Eat the best ones right there while they're still warm from the sun. Offer a few to the dog; leave half on the vine for the birds. Kneel in the middle of the bramble, covered in scratches, and offer up gratitude for the Texas summer.

How can you save the world? You can revel in it. You can trail your feet in cool water and come home smiling and happy, with blackberries to share. You can bring joy and kind hands into the garden and use them to steward your one patch of earth.