Once We Were Nomads

Margaret Atwood
Foreword to A Breath of Fresh Air: Celebrating Nature and School Gardens by Elsie Houghton

Describing the Post-War period after the Victory Gardens disappeared:

There was an undeniable emotional charge to throwing stuff out. Scrimping, saving and hoarding make a person feel poor — think of Scrooge, in A Christmas Carol — whereas dispensing largesse, whether in the form of a prize goose, as in Scrooge’s case, or in the form of filling up your garbage can with junk you no longer want, makes you feel rich. Saving is heavy, discarding is light. Why do we feel this way? Once we were nomads, and nomads don’t carry around grand pianos. They don’t hoard food; instead they move to where food is. They leave a light footprint, as the green folk say. Well, it’s a theory.

But we can’t all be nomads any more. There isn’t enough space left for that.

Not enough space and not enough grace. Just enough humour.

And so for day 2395

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