“You see, you start with jest so much caliker; you don't go to the store and pick it out and buy it, but the neighbors will give you a piece here and a piece there, and you'll have a piece left every time you cut out a dress, and you take jest what happens to come. And that's like predestination. But when it comes to the cuttin' out, why, you're free to choose your own pattern. You can give the same kind o' pieces to two persons, and one'll make a "nine-patch," and one'll make a "wild-goose-chase," and there'll be two quilts made out o' the same kind o' pieces, and jest as different as they can be. And that is jest the way with livin'. The Lord sends us the pieces, but we can cut 'em out and put 'em together pretty much to suit ourselves, and there's a heap more in the cuttin' out and the sewin' than there is in the caliker.”
A wild goose chase quilt made around the 1880’s, and a nine patch quilt displayed at Celebrating Agriculture.
This passage is excerpted from a collection of short stories published in 1907. The author was a poet, essayist, folk art historian, and advocate of suffrage and women's rights.
I like it in part because it emphasizes the choices we are free to make in life. In the upcoming year, what choices will you make? Here are ten easy options available to all of us, for your consideration. They could help make our shared planet a better place in 2010.
- support the local economy by shopping at neighborhood shops and farm stands
- try walking and biking instead of driving, or carpool
- plant native plants that provide sustenance for wildlife
- recycle; pick up litter
- volunteer for or donate to a worthy cause
- craft or buy a card or a gift made by hand
- read something or attend a lecture that expands your knowledge base about issues facing the world today
- try a “green” product to see if it meets your needs
- consider the impact of your actions on your neighbors
- spend some time sharing nature or your interests with a child.
Just some food for thought as we leave behind what Time Magazine dubbed “the Decade from Hell,” and look forward to a better future.