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“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”
― Confucius

I haven’t written anything while I was away, not even my journal. When I get away from writing I have to prime the pump and get back into the swing of putting my thoughts down.

Coming home is always a great thing. The plants survived, and the bird bath still had water in it. The tomatoes are ripe on the vine. Our little dog Lulu was happy to see us. Everything will be back to normal on Tuesday.

The kids will be walking past my house their happy laughter music to my ears. The last few weeks of summer are here. I have a theory that what made the West advance was winter. My parents used to sing a song about “when the works all done this fall.” That is a line that holds promise for all the things that didn’t fit in during a busy summer of gathering food and getting ready for winter. During the winter was time when mental energy could be used to figure out ways to make the work of the next summer easier.

When you live in a climate where you pick the mango off the tree and there is always a fish to catch for dinner. What thought needs to be given for tomorrow. Winter makes one give thought about tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. It’s a long time from freeze up to the first harvest of anything.

I can see how I could easily adapt to a life style of leisure and living off what is there to pick and catch all year long. We adapt to where we are, blooming where we are planted. Where life is hard we become industrious to survive. Survival of the fit.

While in Jamaica we visited Green Grotto Cave and it has a history of being a refuge for people who were fleeing. First the slaves fled from the Spanish, then the English took over from the Spanish and the former slaves helped the Spanish flee the English. It is a big cave but when the light is turned off you can’t see your hand in front of your face. There is an in ground lake with drinkable water many feet below the surface of the cave. How they found it we are told is they followed the roots of the Banyon tree which is a Ficus tree and they knew “where the Banyan tree grows there is water.” Finding it in the darkness shows the will to survive.

“People often associate complexity with deeper meaning, when often after precious time has been lost, it is realized that simplicity is the key to everything.”
― Gary Hopkins

I found a story about Farmer Sadiman a man from Dali in Central Javi. He realized that the water shortage problem that happens during the dry season could be alleviated by planting trees, especially Banyan trees. He first discovered this when he found that many rubber trees were no longer producing rubber latex. The water shortage was so severe the tree trunks had dried up.

Over nineteen years he used his own money to plant trees on the denuded hill sides. Two of the trees he planted were banyan and lamtoro.

Unlike rubber trees that absorb groundwater, banyan trees can retain groundwater. The more banyan trees planted means, the more villagers will get clean water,” he said. After 19 years, Sadiman said he could not remember how many trees he had planted on the previously deforested hill. However, data from Geneng subdistrict office reported that at least 11,000 trees, including 4,000 banyan trees, had been planted over the past 19 years across 100 hectares of land on Gendol Hill and the neighboring Ampyangan Hill.

While 30 subdistricts in Wonogiri have been suffering from a water crisis since earlier this year, Geneng has become one of among the few subdistricts in the regency that seem unperturbed with this year’s prolonged dry season.

At first they laughed at his idea, thinking it was too simple of a solution to such a big problem. He has been proven right. What simple solutions are we overlooking? Who has great ideas we are laughing at? Why hasn’t every district and subdistrict planted these trees?

It saddens me when I see sub divisions where no trees are planted. The obligatory tree is planted by the city but sometimes the owners of the home do not plant anything at all.

We can all plant a tree. We know it works. Is it better if it is the right tree in the right place? Perhaps, but you are where you are, plant a tree, any tree that grows will be better than none. We can’t wait for someone else to do what we can do. Who is this mythical person who will solve the problems we need to solve ourselves? It seems so small what can one tree do? What could 7 billion trees do?

We don’t want to think that simple solutions can solve big problems, because then any fool could solve the problem and we are too smart  for that.

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.”
― E.F. Schumacher

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