In the weeds

I thought I found a shortcut.

In my recent failure as a landscaper at my house, I thought I could just cover up the grass instead of removing it. It’s called a ‘kill mulch’ and the the idea is that if you cut the grass off from light it will die without the use of herbicides and without removing it. 

For the first week this worked great. After that my brown mulch was flecked with little bits of green. After that I had straight up grass growing in my mulch bed. There are no shortcuts in eradicating weeds. 

It seems to be the same with bad habits. 

You can cover them up. You can try to trick them. One day you’re still gonna end up with your hands in the dirt, turning the soil and pulling them up by the roots.

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Thursday Check In - June 21, 2018

After all that build up, of course Drew talks about the Paul Simon concert. But with the much mentioned Mallory making her first appearance on the show, there is no telling where the conversation will go. Listen as Mal-Pal The Nature Gal and Drew talk about food regret, garden updates, and the concert of a lifetime.
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This is why we need songs

The thought came to me in the middle of a sax solo. 

I want to be able to do everything. I know this about myself. Sometimes I let it pull me in too many directions at once. When I moved to Nashville I told anyone who asked all the instruments I could play. I had just left my string band where we traded mandolins, guitars, upright bass and banjo. If I had access to an instrument I wanted to learn it.

I don’t talk about that much anymore. I’ve been slowly realizing something that crystallized last night at the Paul Simon concert.

There are tons of great players out there who are a lot better than me. Without songs, they’re just warming up.

Paul stood aside and all eyes turned to the saxophone player. He could have taken a guitar solo. Over the years he could have learned to play the saxophone himself. But there in the middle of his song he made a space for someone else. For someone to feel it. 

Paul’s song took us to the mountain top. The saxophone made us leap.

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Simon says farewell

I’m still too close. Sometimes a single moment can take years to understand. I can hardly imagine the number of moments I just experienced seeing Paul Simon for the first and last time on his farewell tour. 

Like Tom Petty, Paul Simon has avoided becoming a strictly nostalgia act. He’s in the game for more than material things. We were all there because the truth in his songs does not age.

In the crowd there were boomers and veterans, old hippies, millenials and digital natives. Some songs were fifty years old, others barely two. 

All of us gathered to sing the songs that our lives and voices share. 

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What difference does it make?

In another scene from the Mr. Rogers documentary, Fred is speaking to adults in a televised message he delivered to adults in the wake of September 11, 2001. He himself had been overwhelmed by the scale and force of the destruction, and the omen it portended. He feared the world he had spent his life trying to make a kinder, more loving place had gone hopelessly astray.

The life and work of Fred Rogers exist as a protest against the divisive, resentful, vindictive nature of selfish conflict. He stood strong against the industrialising forces that demand conformity and efficiency at the expense of humanity and dignity. And yet at that moment he felt that nothing he had done made any difference.

The lesson in that moment of Fred’s life may be that the conflict within is us also the conflict between us. Just as Lady Aberlin and Daniel Tiger sang their duet of fear and love, so the world sings. Lady Aberlin’s song did not eradicate the fear from Daniel’s heart. When Daniel repeated his song Lady Aberlin did not give up and resign herself to silence.

At the end of that broadcast, Mr. Rogers made it a point to say that wherever you are, whatever you are doing with your life, that you can be a “tikkun olam,” a repairer of creation. As many times as the earth is disturbed, Daisy Fleabane and the other pioneer species will begin their work of repairing creation. We should be like them.

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We are surrounded

On Friday we saw the Mr. Rogers documentary, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor”. In one of the most moving scenes the puppet Daniel Tiger sings a song about feeling like a fake, that he is unlovable, and perhaps he was a mistake. His friend Lady Aberlin sings reassuringly back to him that she loves him as he is and that he is not what he fears. 

In a stroke of genius, Mr. Rogers decided to have Daniel repeat his fears as Lady Aberlin repeated her reassurances.

We live in fear of being found out for who we really are. What we don’t realize is that we are surrounded by people who have not rejected us for who we are not, but who have already seen us and love us because of who we really are.

The songs we sing together are a duet between who we fear we will be found to be and the those who know us for who we are and love us still.

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Did You Make The Most? - The Podcast

Drew is not a landscaper. You knew this. He didn't. But this actually served as the perfect setup to talk about track 5, "Did You Make The Most?" Drew looks back and offers his perspective on what it means to make the most of your time, and the difficulty of appreciating each stage of life while you're in its midst.
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We let our yard grow wild

A field of nameless weeds. That’s all it looked like.

Last year we let an unused section of our yard grow wild. I thought it would be fun to see what would happen if we let the plants grow instead of mowing them down, making them uniform. These odd flowers that looked like miniature daisies filled the entire patch. Curious, I tried to identify them.

Daisy fleabane. A native plant, and part of a group of plants called pioneer species that are the first to move into an area with a history of disturbance. They bloom in abandoned lots, damaged yards, and places where there is little hope of anything growing.

There are people made to match them.

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In the garden of your mind

Fred Rogers made an indelible mark on this world. He spoke to children as children about the adult world they were immersed in and overlooked by. He understood that their experiences and emotions are just as real as adults and they should be valued. He valued children not for what they would become, but for who they are right now.

His life’s work of teaching us that we are lovable and capable of loving is just as relevant to adults as it is to children.

In Nashville, this is opening weekend for the new Mr. Rogers Documentary, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” at The Belcourt Theater. If you can, get a ticket. If you remember, bring a tissue. You’ll be glad you did.

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Whatever may come

I’ve never been one for five year plans. Most of my life I haven’t even planned five days in advance. My default is to keep myself open to whatever may come.

So what happens when what’s coming isn’t what you want? You sit it out.

The best way to look back and wonder where the time went is to do exactly the same thing every day. Without variation for months at a time. Sitting it out. Waiting for that thing to come.

What if it never comes? What will be your “I should have…”?

The best time to start is four years ago. The second best time is today.

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