My granny ran the meanest bath. Barely enough water to cover your legs and when you are kid that’s not a lot of water. She saved string, reused bottles and made everything from scratch. In the 70’s we called that being a child of the Great Depression today we would call her a greenie!
Granny was a conservative being so I am not sure how the politics of that would have sat with her but she really was an original greenie. I am sure she was not alone and you probably have similar memories of your granny!
I was reading the travel section of the Sunday paper this weekend about art experiences in Tasmania and they had interviewed American born sculptor Peter Adams. Each year he plants 400 trees on his property in what he calls ‘earth tithing’.
“Earth tithing” the words just jumped off the page at me. I had never heard that phrase before and yet it really resonated with me. As a child and now as an adult I grew up with tithing as a something we do as a family as part of the church community we belong to. I suppose another way of looking at earth tithing is giving back to the earth. Granny gave back by being a careful consumer of resources.
I am now going to take a mental sharp left turn, from trees to home interiors, so bear with me.
I was visiting a friend a couple of weeks ago and something really struck me about her home. It was modern and contemporary and yet it reflected the history of her life. I was looking a sofas and chairs that had been recovered (more than once), artwork that had been collected (and in many instances reframed) through adulthood and objects that had been moved and regrouped to reflect her home now. In it I saw the history of our friendship. I remembered browsing art galleries in Paddington, visiting Vinnies to buy furniture, objects from her university dorm room – you get the picture.
Is my friend a modern version of Granny? Yes but more a case of ‘same same but different.’ This modern day version of Granny recycles, reuses and repurposes with a consciousness borne of giving and not deprivation and it is this that gives a depth of context to her home in a way that ‘new’ could not. In the same way the words ‘earth tithing’ have an emotional context that the council recycle messages don’t seem to carry.
How does earth tithing look in your life?