Sometimes people forget to say thank you. A small but common discourtesy and meanness. So let me make this minor adjustment to the world.
Robert Guyton wrote a good number of posts here in the two months before Christmas.
I’ve never met the man. I hope to. There aren’t a whole lot of idealists in the world. Of those idealists, fewer who do it, and do it for years; not for gain of anything the world respects, but because in one tiny speck of this blue miracle amidst stars you give life as if it’s the most generous thing you can offer. Trees of that scale require decades of you – longer than people raise children. That’s life far beyond the tactical; to call it a strategy also seems somehow insulting.
So far as I could tell of those posts, there’s a minimum of preening, self-righteousness, bitterness at the inevitable beatings that the world hands out, or religious superiority. Simply a few lessons about tending the growth of carefully-chosen trees into gardens and from there into sanctuary.
These kinds of people, so far as i can tell, don’t even do it because they think that the right and good will win, or cosmic lessons must be scolded out, or that this old world will overturn and will in final measure be redeemed. What he’s done will outlast him, but I never detected it being out of any resistance against mortality itself, like some vain octogenarian art collector.
Today, it’s reported, one of the very last Shakers has died. Sister Frances Carr. Soon there will be not one of that movement left alive. Maybe in a hundred years someone will pick up the Shaker beliefs and dust them off to form further intentional community. Maybe. Point is, she lived it to the very last day of her life. And it was good.
You have to want to let something like Robert’s posts challenge your values. Allow it. Even harder to let that change alter your actions. And in doing so, ideally, not hate yourself for what you already do to start with. Or indeed let all the collected conspiracy and causation of this world make all your actions seem futile. That takes a certain rare lightness.
What the Robert Guyton posts was put a lighthouse on a rock. And from that lighthouse, glimpse others far in the distance. Those low-key idealists who do the work can be a lighthouse. Maybe that’s a politics, and maybe that doesn’t matter either.
So Mr Guyton, thankyou. You challenged me. I know I’m not the same as you. It’s important you exist. You’re doing an important thing. Do more. And when you’re ready, tell us more.