The Power of One Writer
Back Yards, Ethiopia and Children's Books

One thing

Do one thing.

It’s a comforting thought, isn’t it?  In The Oregonian article I was reading while keeping my mom company this morning, the one thing was to ditch harmful chemicals used to clean toilet bowls and, instead, sprinkle baking soda in the evening and wake to sparkling white.  Hmmm.

So much to do in my life that feels important.  Reading.  Writing.  Teaching.  Family celebrations.


Volunteering, too.  So many kids who deserve a thinking, active, reading education in Ethiopia–like these kids who gathered around the Ethiopia Reads mobile horse library near Kololo.

Off to Kololo 052

It can be overwhelming.

And now so many weeds to pull.

1 weeds (2)

Last week, I had my visit from the volunteer from the Portland Backyard Habitat Certification Program–and I got some surprises.  This one, for example, isn’t invasive.  Oh, it might take over and dig its roots deep deep deep, but it’s not competing with Oregon wildflowers and dominating public spaces.

English ivy is.  My visiting sweeties loved the clip and snip of helping me fill this city compost bin with it (one bin down, hundreds more to go).


Pokeweed is.  Last year, I kept wondering, What is that plant??  This year, after the backyard visit, I dug in to try to dig out its roots.  (This is only the crown.)


Creeping buttercup is.  I only had a small infestation (I think), which I replaced with wood and rocks that I gathered from other places in the yard.


It’ll take years to turn my back yard into a place Lanie could be proud of.  But I can do one thing.  Or two. Or three.  And when one of my sweeties got back home, she sent me a picture of a weed to ask if it was one of the bad ones.


When we do one thing and the kids of the earth see us, who knows what one-two-three things they’ll do, too?


2 thoughts on “One thing”

  1. I love your post. Just yesterday I found an almost-new copy of LAST CHILD IN THE WOODS in our ReSale Shop here at PRC, and snatched it up to re-read and give an honored place on my bookshelf, as well as try to spread its message.
    . Such a good book–“Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder.” By Richard Louv.

    • I know! I was really curious to see whether my passion for my back yard would rub off on the kids and it absolutely did. They were immediately hooked. It’s what I centered the Lanie books on…that need to get kids (all of us) outside.


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