During the process of restoring a small piece of prairie, I learned that restoring a piece of earth is very similar to navigating this beautiful & complicated life.
Here goes my prairie story...
Step One: We need to decide it is time for a change. Are we ready for a change? How ready? What is stopping us?
For my prairie, I chose to eliminate the existing fescue that had been used for cattle grazing for countless decades.
Step Two: We need to decide what change looks like. How do we want to show up differently in a year or five years? What are we visualizing?
For my prairie, I chose native Missouri seeds that were full of texture and color. I was also warned that texture and color will improve over time and to expect no miracles in year one. This was frustrating to hear as I really like instant gratification.
Step Three: We need to decide how much to invest in the process of change? How committed are we? What kind of time, energy and money are we willing to commit? What basic investments do we need to guarantee some change in our lives?
For my prairie, I chose to invest in the basics and only the basics. I ordered a cheap drag harrow on the internet to agitate the land and then I used a low-tech push behind seeder to lay down the seed.
Step four: When we have decided on a plan and executed the plan (daily practices, commitments to yourself, therapy, work and family change, etc.), pause for a moment and have faith and celebrate that you are doing something. And something is better than nothing. Sustainable change is rarely quick or magical. Dammit. Hell. Dammit.
For my prairie, I had to wait a long time to know if the steps I had taken would be enough. I didn't invest in a planter. I didn't do a lot of things I could have done, so I had to sit back and have faith that these seeds would take hold and grow.
STEP FIVE: Start to carefully document the change you see in your life. Log and learn. Photos, journal entries, conversations, logs of behavior/activities, etc. Yes, documentation takes time, but we all yearn for proof that what we are doing is working or starting to work.
For my prairie, I was thrilled that something actually grew. I didn't think the color was as vivid as I had imagined, but my expectations were also quite low. I continued to be paranoid that my drag harrow wasn't enough to get the seeds in the earth. The seeds took hold.
STEP SIX: Stay hopeful and faithful. Change takes time. If change and transformation were easy, everyone would be a beautiful monarch.
For my prairie, year two the color amazed me. Seeds that didn't take root year one decided to take root. The butterflies were in surplus!
STEP SEVEN: Take time to celebrate the progress while focusing on the next thing. The next transformation. The next micro-revolution. The next experiment. The next thing. Always having a next thing will keep us all alive and happier longer.
For my prairie, I can't wait to see year three. I am also planning on planting my third section of the property with a slightly different seed mix. And since my process has been working, I plan to follow the same process.
#hope #love #faith #yieldhappiness