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Remember the old Lutheran image of there’s a devil sitting on one shoulder telling you to go ahead and doraphael_italian_cherub_angel the vice and the angel on the other shoulder telling you to be good and behave properly?

As a Quaker it’s a struggle to love myself and change myself. SometimesI just wish for a clear code: this is right and this is wrong. This week struggle with me on some dilemmas. I don’t want to live chained to a devil with arched eyebrows and eyes like burning coals whispering in my ear: I just want clarity on right action. I hope…no I implore you to join with me.

Dilemma I~  Stop electric dyers?

It’s April, about 45 degrees, and I finished washing my clothes. I love the bright sun, the dose of Vit D will fluff my health. Plus, I’m curbing my electricity use. I hang shirts and jeans on the line between the strawberry patch and compost heap. The sheets smell fresh like whipped cream. But my fingers get cold hanging wet clothes and I am behind in my work today. Some days I take the easy route– use the electric dryer. Is it a pact with the devil?

Dilemma II~  How long to stay in the Shower?

During the carefree 1970s there was a summer of drought @1977 and young Quakers around the US agreed to limit their showers to 3 minutes each. I learned to shampoo long hair quickly, drop the hair conditioner. Now, 37 years later my shoulder blades are lodged deeply into muscles settled like sedimentary rock. My back is tighter than a apple tree. I love to stretch my back under hot water. My showers, these days, are not saving energy.

LobsterDilemma III ~ Food Fights

After college I traveled by bus through Honduras and Nicaragua: I noticed the scarred mountainsides losing their forests. Deforestation covered the hillsides like blight. I was told in the 1980s that Honduras’ subsistence farmers were being bought out by the United Fruit Co. who wanted to raise prime beef to sell in the USA. Really? Like why? These farmers had children starving for rice and beans, and they were selling it to restaurants catering to overfed Americans. If friends want to eliminate the use of petrol/fossil fuels, don’t eat from restaurants or buy meat that imports beef from 1,000s of miles away.

Dilemma IV~  Decrease gadgets: Microwaves are so retro

I love inventions as much as Edison. I use electricity like a luxury, not an essential. Essentials are food, shelter, health and education. Right? Walmart and HomeDepo would assert that many things you can’t live without: television, microwave, and air conditioners. Where do you draw the line? I own 3 computers: Microsoft, old I-book, and an I-pad. This is excessive though I claim that I tried to give the I-book away as an antique (2000). The devil’s shadow is clouding my eyesight. I resisted a microwave until 2011. Now I want to return it, without getting any money. I have an electric teapot, a microwave, a toaster and a stovetop. Do I need 3 ways to boil water?river spring copy

 Dilemma IV~ Trees & City Gardens

I’m excited about climate change. Seriously, I’m preparing for big changes in 2014. The US use of electricity is like a huge obese hippopotamus. Our society is large and pregnant, and acting like an adolescent on growth hormones. With our fat US bellies, either we’ll birth a new way of walking gently on Earth or we will abort. I grew up on a small farm with cows and corn and sheep. But I’m learning to garden in the metropolis of Boston. In Cambridge composting and beekeeping are burgeoning. We have an urban orchard program. Everywhere are pear trees, crops of arugula, and purple Echinacea. I know the lifespan of the maple, and dogwood and plum tree outside my door is shortened living in the city. I know the rhythm of these trees, like old friends. I notice birds landing, the squirrels jumping onto branches like trampolines. I watch how fast trees grow, how each one tosses its head differently in the wind. Knowing the city block ecology will inform our choices during the testing of climate change. My angel tells me I need to love all the creatures on my block, not just the humans. Climate change is scary, but it’s not evil unless humans are cruel to each other.

What do you think? Any messages being whispered in your ears?