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We reap what we sow — Thoughts on the theme — October 2021

The idea that we reap what we sow was probably embedded in the collective consciousness long before it became a Bible verse, but whether it was meant as a warning or a promise is a little less clear. The articles in this issue suggest the verse is just another way of saying what quantum mechanics now confirms: humans are constantly broadcasting (sowing) energy in thoughts, words and deeds. That we receive more of exactly what we put out isn’t punitive or rewarding, it’s just reflexive.

What are we sowing when we forsake farmland for sprawling warehouses that bring with them infrastructure overload, increased traffic, choking emissions, constant noise, and diminished quality of life for the people, plants and animals who live there? Thurston County is listening to those who oppose plans to rezone more land near Centralia for warehouses. Hopefully they (and landowners, too, who are tempted to cash in on valuable property) will heed the warning of other municipalities and abandon rezoning plans that result in the irretrievable loss of arable land.

Arable land isn’t just a pastoral notion. It’s an indisputable measure of the viability of the planet. Topsoil degradation is one of the most grievous—and correctable – issues of our time. We need look no further for a literal example of reaping what we sow. Soil expert Gary Kline reminds readers that soil amendment goes far beyond growing healthy plants. It is a recipe for radically reducing climate change.

Climate change may be the ultimate example of reaping what we’ve sown and nowhere is the dire outlook for humans more sorrowful than in the hearts of young people. Internalizing deep despair is lonely and isolating, and cynical detachment is the default mode for lots of kids (and adults). The folks at Thurston Climate Action Team know action is an antidote to despair so they reached out to youth through a series of workshops last year that invited them to express not just their fears but their hope for the planet they are inheriting. One outcome is the climate justice mural we celebrate on pages 8-9.

An essay we received this month on being present as a witness to the suffering of addiction and homelessness illustrates the importance of following internal nudges to sow seeds of service. Melissa Rasmussen acknowledges that the small kindnesses she shared with a lost young woman recently may or may not germinate. But that doesn’t mean we should forget small acts of compassion. Those seeds may live underground and, in time, sprout and flourish. What we reap in our own hearts may be the real harvest anyway.

Thurston County commissioners will decide soon whether to implement a county-wide tax to raise funds to help meet the needs of unhoused individuals and families. As contributor Charlotte Persons notes, the fund isn’t designed to “solve” homelessness, but it would create a bit of housing for some of our deeply vulnerable neighbors.

Vulnerability takes many forms. As citizens, we rely on elected officials to make the best decisions on our behalf. Land use, real estate transactions, environmental guardianship – how are these transacted, and shouldn’t we be privy to the process of arriving at those decisions? Matt Crichton’s interview with outgoing Port of Olympia commissioner EJ Zita underscores the absolute necessity for transparency at that agency and by extension, all those organizations in which we place our trust. We hope the issues Zita championed in her time there will serve as guideposts to remind the Port of their responsibility as stewards of public money, land and water. Another article on page 4 looks closer at candidates jockeying to oversee management of those resources, and to whose interests they are beholden.

When we seed our actions with intentions that build, bridge, protect and heal, we’re bound to reap a goodly harvest. Maybe not immediately. Maybe not the way we planned. Maybe not even in our lifetimes. But reap we do. It’s the law. Happy October, Wipsters.


Upcoming themes

November-December: Gimme Shelter. Ever listened to the lyrics of this classic Rolling Stones song? What does “shelter” look like during the wet and windy months? What’s “just a shot away?”
Deadline: November 10.

January: Where do we find light? It’s dark out there but the light hasn’t gone away. Can you see it yet? What helps you navigate dark times? Deadline: December 17


About the cover


I am thankful for this day.
I am thankful for this life.
I am thankful for my life.
I am thankful for all things.
Fix my mind/heart.
Fix my body.
Fix my life/soul.
Make us one.
And all will be right in this life.
So be it.

Cover image is a detail from the Climate Justice Mural Project on Harrison Avenue at the roundabout leading to the west side of Olympia. The text is a traditional Tulalip prayer in the Southern Lushootseed language. Sometimes referred to as “the language of Puget Sound,” Lushootseed is part of the Salish family of languages spoken by the Tulalip Tribes, whose ancestral lands once ranged from what we now know as Vancouver Island to southern Oregon. Part of the Tulalip mission is to preserve xecusadad —traditional teaching—by becoming “living records” who embody cultural wisdom, passing it to new generations. More information and images about the mural appear on pages 8-9. Photo by Lindsey Dalthorp.


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