If this year has taught us anything, it’s that nothing is sacred, not even childhood. We started off the year losing Alan Rickman, who has been a favorite of mine for a long time. And as a Harry Potter obsessive, he was the best person they could have chosen to play Snape. So needless to say, that broke my heart. Then Prince, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Merle Haggard, Gene Wilder (screw you 2016!), Robert Vaugh and the list goes on and on. But seriously, 2016, what was the meaning of you taking Kenny Baker away from us? Why go after the droid? What’s your problem? This year was brutal in celebrity deaths. It was also a tumultuous disaster year. Two hurricanes, flooding, mudslides, drought, tornadoes in November and the wildfire in East Tennessee that devastated that area. 2016 would not stick to national news, either; it came after my family. Well you know what, 2016? You better really enjoy your last gasps because the end of you is on its way. And I know plenty of people that will be glad to see you go. So much negativity in the news can really wear a person down, don’t you think? And then to come home to your sanctuary and realize that bad news can strike inside the walls of your haven, well, that’s just down right hateful. It makes for a hard time. But I have to say, there is always something good that comes along and reminds us that all is not lost, very much like the rainbow after a bad storm. If that storm decimated your environment, stole your water, killed off some of your favorite famous people and family, and oh yeah, did I mention? Killed a chicken. Man that rainbow is a little more muted this year. Instead of vibrant colors, it’s closer to shades of mauve.
How do we combat this? How do we recover? It’s not easy, and it’s not straightforward either. There’s a saying, tough times make tough people. I guess that’s true, but you could also say tough times break tough people. I know, I know, I’m a ray of sunshine right now. But I want to share with you something that happened not that long ago that made some of this go away. A friend of mine is a born and bred city girl. And she told me recently that for the first time ever she is going to be moving into a house with a lawn that she intends to grow food on. And what makes this conversation special is she told me that through what I do and what I share with her, it made her get excited about learning how to do those things. Will she have 22 chickens? Maybe not, but maybe. Maybe she finds out how amazing and rewarding growing tomatoes can be, so she tries something else, then something else, then something else until she is living just outside of town on a couple of acres of ground with some chickens in the backyard, gardening her little heart out. Or maybe she sticks to her backyard garden in town and enjoys giving fresh tomatoes to friends and family. Either way, she was inspired by somebody talking about something they are passionate about. Why can’t that be what we all plan for 2017? Let’s all strive to enrich someone else’s life, because I can guarantee you that through that effort, our own lives are enriched. When you lift up others and share your passion with them, you are healing part of you, too. It’s our response to adversity that makes or breaks us and it’s our response to those around us that either pulls them up or knocks them down another rung. I didn’t say, well I guess you could grow something in the city, but that’s such a small goal, and a lot of work; instead I went with, do you know how much food you can grow on 1/4 acre? You could feed yourself for a year and then some!
This has been a beast of a year. Let’s make 2017 something amazing. Let’s make 2017 a year for inspiring others, not tearing each other down. I for one am going to keep trying new things and failing and crying and getting back up and dusting off my kitchen apron. And just maybe I can convince some of you to try something new with me this year.