Mort Mather's Philosophy

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Mort Mather's Garden Spot

I guess thinking is just about one of the favorite things I do. I can do it anywhere which makes it very handy. Also, it doesn't take any equipment. I don't need a desk or a computer or anything that can be purchased, rust, wear out, get lost or stolen, or become obsolete.

Some of my thoughts are fleeting. They are fun while they are being thought but they are not worth writing down or remembering. Others have given me pleasure for many years.

I remember, for example, wandering around Barcelona on the first day of spring in 1965 and finding myself walking through rutted alleys in the worst slum of that Spanish city. Clearly the city services did not reach this area. The buildings were constructed of materials gleaned from the dump upon and around which they were built. It was also the back side of a hill and I was climbing the hill to reach an historic fort. Mine was not the preferred route.

Even in this area spring was in bloom on wildflowers clinging to untrodden areas close against walls and high fences made of old doors or sections of metal roofing. But what struck me most was a beautiful clear voice singing a joyous tune. There could be no doubt that the woman whose voice I heard was happy. Happy?! Living in these surrounding? Pondering this question I came upon the conclusion that, "Freedom from want is not having everything you want but rather not wanting anything you don't have."

I have enjoyed the cleverness of my mind for discovering this truth for all these years but it wasn't until just now that I understood what I was saying. We don't have control over what we can have. We may not be able to get a house or a car or to be in love. We certainly can't control the weather if we want it to stop raining or the wind to stop blowing. But we can control the other side of the equation, what we want. That is totally within us. Rather than want a change in the weather we can look for the beauty or the excitement or the benefit of a weather condition that others describe as miserable.

As I was looking out the window at the garden, thinking about what I would write today, I marveled at its cover of old manure. Josh, our 22 year old son, spread the whole pile of manure in less than a day. Good for him. He did what it would have taken me weeks to accomplish.

Sometimes thought interrupts my activities. But it's OK. Barbara likes to look out in the garden and see me leaning on whatever tool I am using as a prop. It amazes her that I can be lost in thought for such long periods of time. I sure am glad she enjoys me in this way. Wouldn't it be terrible if she wanted me to finish the job expeditiously?

ŠJanuary 18, 1997


Mort Mather's Philosophy Essays

Mort is a husband and father. He authored a book, Gardening For Independence and was named Environmentalist of the Year by Down East Magazine in 1987. He is a consultant for organizations. His address is 802 Bald Hill Road, Wells, ME 04090.

Mort retains all rights to his columns. Anyone interested in using them can get the rights at a very reasonable rate. Mortmather@cybertours.com

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