"Live a good life, and in the end, it's not the years in the life, it's the life in the years."

Have you ever changed your mind?

By on September 28, 2020 in Columnist with 0 Comments
Mike Cassidy

By Mike Cassidy


I’m having the first coffee of the day while gazing at the back half of a small farm that’s been in my family for nearly 90 years, and now belongs to my wife and me.

Over the past decades, brush has been allowed to creep up from the surrounding forest, until nearly half of the once smooth grassy fields are overgrown on this piece of land we use as a refuge from the hurly-burly of life. 

But now, as the pandemic has slowed down life, we have time to deal with the brush that has grown too big for a mechanical brush hog.

So, on the occasional weekend when we can get here, my wife and I have been attacking the brush with a chainsaw, pruners, saws and axes.

If you’ve ever dug out a shrub or a row of junipers in your backyard, you have an idea of just how much muscle work is involved. Now, imagine about eight acres of shrub fruit trees, maple trees, Scotch broom, thorn trees and various other growths that I don’t know the name of.

So, as I said, I am sitting here, looking at the work ahead of us today and trying to think of just the right words to motivate my wife to put down her Kindle and pick up her gloves.

And then a lesson I learned in high school science class so long ago dances through my mind.

And the lesson is this: humans breathe oxygen and expel carbon dioxide, whereas plants take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen.

What a nice trade for both of us.

So, in looking at the brush, I start wondering how much any particular scrub gives off in oxygen.

My lungs are less than one cubic foot. I can see a junk tree from where I am sitting that is maybe 20 feet high and a dozen feet wide. Whereas I breathe in and out a few times a minute, would the slower process of that larger tree provide the oxygen I would need for daily living? 

My eyes scan the width and depth of land we intend to clear, and I begin wondering just how many humans it is supporting with life-giving oxygen. Just me? My wife and I? Maybe 10 humans? Maybe 50?

So, I’m thinking of hacking down and burning these green sticks of life that support maybe 50 people? Maybe more?

And, what’s our big plan for the cleared land?

We’re thinking of raising a few head of cattle on the grassy land in our retirement. And isn’t it cows that President Ronald Reagan once suggested are a cause of greenhouse gasses through their flatulence?

So, let’s get this straight: We intend to cut and burn a source of oxygen, to be replaced by methane-gas producers, that will further endanger life on this earth as we know it?

Not me. I’m not that guy. Not today.

I go in to brew a second cup of coffee. My work is done. 

Now, where did I leave that detective novel I was reading?

Don’t work harder — think harder. And let the work take care of itself. Enjoy The Good Life.

— Mike

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