Stone soup parable

April 25, 2003

NoLong Now glasses, this isn’t a story about having better eye sight as a result of drinking wine. It is about how small gifts are as coloured ribbons of celebration, gratitude and thanks.

Pinned to an activist’s life, they lighten the burden of making oneself publicly vulnerable while defending the earth.

Today, I received my new eye glasses. The old glasses were several years old, scratched and bent beyond their prescription use by date. It was time to get new ones.

While checking me out, the optometrist Finian MacCana asked what I had been up to. When I mentioned that I was doing some environmental activist work while also trying to set up Windgrove as a refuge for art and ecology, he said that he knew this because he had been reading about me in the newspapers.

When it came time to pay my $500 bill, Finian said, “No charge. This is my way of helping the cause.”

The wine just arrived from Italy. Cristina and Giorgio Pelissero read about ‘Generational Flow/an altar to the Long Now’ (see March 8) and wanted to share their vineyard’s wine, also called the Long Now.

As Cristina wrote: “Is really wonderful to discover that at the other part of the world some people are working following the same philosophy and feeling in the same way. Hopeful!”

My gross income last financial year from the sale of my sculpture was just under $30,000 (US$18,000). Take away expenses for materials, tools and freight and there isn’t much left.

But somehow $2000 is found to maintain the Peace Fire, $3000 for tree planting, $1,500 on forestry protest signs, $600 on public events and $500 for donations to environmental causes. Plus ongoing construction to build the Windgrove Centre.

Doesn’t add up, does it? Yes, I am always scraping the bottom of the barrel to make ends meet, and my friends always wonder how I manage to survive.

However, like the Stone Soup parable, when friends and visitors continuously contribute bits and pieces to the pot, board by board, nail by nail, Windgrove gets built and I am fed.

First the bus with candles and a dream, now a 2000 square foot centre accommodating Artist’s-in-Residence.

Windgrove’s success is a ten dollar donation from a tourist from Germany, a larger check in the mail from America or England, a web master who gives his time freely, neighbours who cook me dinners or someone else offering an offering. It all adds up to a Life on the Edge where I dont fall over the edge.

I am thankful. Very thankful.

And tonight, I’ll be having a glass of wine while clearly reading the label on the bottle.

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