Saturday, May 24, 2008


The last few days have been another of those defining moments, perhaps - I will only really know later. It it time to metamorphose from the caterpillar - to finally grow up into something, but what to turn into is the question. There are 2 opposing schools of thought here and both were brought home to me within minutes of each other, a couple of days ago. There are so many people in my life just now that it is good when a phone call makes it all seem so clear; only to have the opposite seem so much more sensible, by another phone call only a second later. Both these people, from our seedsavers group, may read this and may or may not realise the effects they have on me.

Slowly, like a snail creeping towards its leafy dinner, have I become firmly and single-mindedly attracted to food-growing and seedsaving and all they mean to life - from the beginnings of flowering plants on earth to the future life of the planet. All of it. All that deep and meaningful stuff I think about and write about all the time plus a whole lot I haven't even become aware of yet.

At the same time, other people have begun to want to reach out and push forward these same ideals; as threats of climate change and its turmoil just begin to become visible and agri-business takes over the very roots of our existence, in direct conflict with all that I see as paramount to basic survival. Various of these other people seem to think that I would be a useful person to have as part of their teams to make a truly international influence in the food-growing scene, from poor, struggling villagers left starving because of agri-business interference to the affluent, city-dwellers of the western world.

One night there is the phone call, out of the blue, from Jude at Byron Bay Seedsavers Central - the people who wrote that great seedsaving book and who started Seedsavers Australia 20 or so years ago. I am very excited about that call. A couple of nights later there is the phone call from the USA, asking me to be part of what could be a great group of people world wide doing what I want to do. Another whole hour spent chatting and discussing and luring me out of my safe place. Then there are comments and encouragements/discouragements on the blog and emails from people who, I feel, have become some of my best friends, in such a short time.

Just when I need an answer comes the first phone call from someone who is very wise and seems to be able to see right through me. We talk about lots of things, as always, and she manages to make me feel so worth-while and kind of special but in a very down-to-earth way, despite my protests. She says that although I say I am not all that keen on being with most people, obviously I have found people with whom I have a lot of things in common. She says it is time for change in my life and she puts me on a pedestal that I don't deserve.

I hang up the phone and immediately it rings again and it is someone else whose opinion I respect and seek out. We also talk about lots of things and she sees me quite differently and maybe more realistically, maybe not. She reminds me that I am always telling her I don't really like being with people that much and that I enjoy solitude and should, perhaps, stick to the peace and quiet of my garden and not get all fired up about things so much on the blog. I have a cocoon, in other words, and I am comfortable in it. They are both right.

I am just a woman with a passion for the earth, basically, who grows stuff and writes stuff on a little blog in Australia. Of all the 6 billion people in the world how the hell did I get here? And should I just stay put and turn into a moth, with my wings out flat to shield me from predators? Or should I stand tall like a butterfly and use my colourful wings to attract attention in the hope that, in the process, I may join others and together begin to lead people down from the precipice we are on now to a safer, happier, sustainable place, one vegetable garden at a time?

Until I get this off my chest I am finding it difficult to put my mind to writing anything useful at all! There is a lot more to it, as there always is, than this sketchy outline but it is not worth spending much time on so this will have to do. Hopefully putting it down in words like this may get it off my mind because really, I am a butterfly ready to fly off that precipice and see where the wind takes me. Are you coming with me?


Pattie said...

Kate: It sounds like this is a decision you are not yet ready to make. When you are, it will be obvious. Let it be.

Cwm Goch Chronicles said...

Why are you in this position? Did Gandi or the Dalai Lama ask themselves this question? Probably. Then they gave it a shot. Why would your friend say "oh no you're not this type of person'. Are you the same person now that you were 10 years ago? You weren't the sort of person to stand up in class against a maths teacher either...until you did it. If you always do what you've always done - you'll always get what you've always got. Unlike the moth and the butterfly - if it all looks too scary, or the wind gets too always have the option of coming back to your cocoon if you change your mind. Safe and content again - but no doubt having learned something from the experience regardless. Sounds to me like you have nothing to actually lose from this - and only things to gain. Worse case scenario you come home and go 'Hey that was an adventure - but I'm handballing it to someone else now'.

Ask yourself - if I wasn't scared what would I LIKE to do. Do that!
Nat :)

Kate said...

Yes I am Pattie. I have done it already AND because I wrote this earlier I have now written something worthwhile again on the seedsavers blog too!! It worked; that's what's so good about writing, for me.

Nat, you are right.I am going all out for this thing, wherever it takes me.Thanks.

Ian said...

Kate, take the path and lead us away. After all, we can only follow once you have taken up the lead

Cwm Goch Chronicles said...

Good for you Kate! May the adventure teach you much.