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Tending to Saplings
November 8, 2023
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Tending to Saplings
At any given moment I have more maybe-projects at early, sapling (and seedling) stages than projects I actually work on for a living, or those I enjoy as full-blown habits and hobbies that have matured to the point that I could casually tell you how they work, what they do for me, and where they’re headed.
I like this kind of setup! I like tending to a greenhouse filled with possibility and unknowns.
There are several keystone growths that hold everything else together, feeding and fueling and in some cases serving as living scaffoldings for neighboring fauna.
But the space is primarily defined by vernality and fresh-buds that can be more readily pulled out, swapped in, rearranged, and culled back into the soil than their sprawling, aged, and systemically enmeshed kin.
The trick to maintaining this sort of enthusiasm-hothouse is sustaining a sense of possibility, probability, practicality, and capacity.
There’s only so much time, energy, and resources to go around, and that means being willing to get wholeheartedly excited about something, introducing it into the ecosystem of your life, and then being really honest with yourself about whether that new interest makes sense within overall motif—or if it’s maybe a nice (even fantastic) idea that doesn’t work with everything else you have going on at the moment.
The metrics you use to determine what’s what can change over time, of course, and periodically you’ll find yourself with a new bloom that demands you untangle and rearrange the rest of the space—even the towering fiddle-leafs and rubber tree plants—to account for this fresh plantlet’s obvious, near-future centrality.
And there will be moments in which the existing ecosystem no longer makes sense, no longer resonates with who you’ve become since you orchestrated them into their current arrangement.
What’s nice about tending to saplings amidst sturdier, more-developed, ever-evolving systems, though, is that they can be treated as constituents of a more cohesive (existing or potential) biome: a bunch of breezy, vital verbs, not demanding, unwieldy nouns.
They’re not rooted realities, then, but they still lend their essence to the larger pattern, and that makes it easier to tweak and trim and shape the flow of which they’re a part, rather than attempting to manipulate a gordian knot of new and existing elements, ponderously and imperfectly assessing each piece’s impact on the grand structure of which they’re a (perhaps temporary) component.
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Interesting & Useful
“We’ve always loved the retro-futuristic skylines that included flying cars, bubbly-skyscrapers, and optimistic visions of the future. Often those retro-futuristic visions got the future wrong, but they’re still a blast to look at, and paint a fascinating alternative to our real world.”
“The Global Fishing Watch map is the first open-access online tool for visualization and analysis of vessel-based human activity at sea. Anyone with an internet connection can access the map to monitor global fishing activity from 2012 to the present for more than 65,000 commercial fishing vessels that are responsible for a significant part of global seafood catch.”
“Occupying such an ancient and always evolving space is an experience that’s difficult to photograph, Newburn shares, because the constant trickle of melting water, the roar of distant rivers, or even the unique interplay of light and glacier are impossible to depict entirely.”
I’m headed back to Seattle for Thanksgiving!
That’ll be fun, and I’m looking forward to having a little (two week) trip to break up my early winter routine, as my girlfriend is headed out to the east coast to do an artist residency (on a boat!), and lacking this kind of external, force-me-out-of-the-house variable, there’s a nonzero chance I’d become a happy but anti-social shut-in for a significant chunk of the season.
Also: Last week, I mentioned a multi-day retreat / state park wandering hybrid-adventure that I’ll be attending / speaking at in May, and several people have already booked their spots—which is wonderful!
Thanks to those who signed up: I can’t wait to hang out with you next year and share that experience (it looks to be a lot of fun).
My usual promoting-stuff caveat here: there are cheaper ways to experience state parks (this is an all-inclusive sort of thing and isn’t cheap), and you can always email me about whatever you’d like, for free, and I’m happy to tell you what I can (and would love to hear from you).
That said, if you’re interested in being one of the (very limited number of) attendees, you can find more details (and reserve your spot if you so choose) here, before they officially go on sale on Black Friday (and you’ll still get the Black Friday discount if you reserve a spot ahead of time). Please let me know if you have any questions!
How’re you spending the remainder of 2023? Tell me what’s up by replying to this newsletter: I respond to every message I receive and would love to hear from you :)
Prefer stamps and paper? Send me a letter, postcard, or some other physical communication (a doodle? A Polaroid of your cat?) at: Colin Wright, PO Box 11442, Milwaukee, WI 53211