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“Look, one day I had gone to a little village. An old grandfather of ninety was busy planting an almond tree. ‘What, grandfather!’ I exclaimed. ‘Planting an almond tree?’ And he, bent as he was, turned around and said: ‘My son, I carry on as if I should never die.’ I replied: ‘And I carry on as if I was going to die any minute.’” – Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek
These are troubled times. We have had several threads here on Ricochet wondering whether the United States will dissolve into chaos in the next year or the one after that. I have been seeing those kinds of conversations on other blogs I frequent. And yes, I believe it could happen, and have written about getting prepared.
Equally, it may happen a lot later than expected. Or never happen. So how do you carry on in the meantime?
The old grandfather in this quote will almost certainly never enjoy the fruit of the almond tree he is planting. Yet he might. Even if he doesn’t he knows his family will. So he continues on as he has for nine decades, planting for the next season. (And yes, I believe a 90-year-old Greek farmer could do this. They were tough old birds. My Greek grandparents all lived into their late 80s and were active until then. My parents lived into their 90s, and dad was figuratively planting almond trees in the last three years of his life.)
I must come from the tradition of the old grandfather. I am pretty sure the wheels will all come off before 2025. Despite that, I took a job last year working on a lunar project that will not be launched until 2025 (and more realistically, 2027). I do not plan to quit that job, even though I don’t need the salary. It is worth doing. It is fun. The books I write are my almond trees. I continue planting almond trees, despite my pessimism about the future. I am still negotiating and signing contracts for future books, to be written next year and the year after. My writing calendar is pretty well full through the middle of 2024.
Why? Why not? If the worst happens, it happens. I have made my preparations and am content to await events. If the worst fails to happen, I have set things up so that I am using the time I have in a creative and constructive way.
How about you? My advice: plant the almond tree.Published in