So, on this April 1, I was pondering the week-ending meeting of finance ministers in the eurozone where they concluded that the $1.1 trillion of emergency funding that they’ve assembled for shoring up their wobbling economies did not meet the IMF’s minimum security blanket of $1.3 trillion. It seems that most international markets feel that anything less than $1.3 trillion would be insufficient to support the assistance that is likely to be needed by Spain and Italy. And according to reports out of the U.S. Treasury (who failed to sell their bank investments in 6 TARP exiting banks this week at par losing money on their investment of taxpayer money) and the Congressional Budget Office, the U.S. government’s $2.5 trillion of “firewall” investments – supported by international debt buyers and generous domestic currency manipulation – give little confidence that the long-term outlook for such “support” represents a good fiscal future. In the spirit of this day, however, I found that the more I focused on the illogical, empirically disproven economic plans being promoted in the eurozone, the more I found myself reflecting on Angra Mainyu – the Persian angel of darkness and destroyer of good.
Which is why I decided to spend this day departing from my typical Inverted Alchemy topics to celebrate the outdoors, to honor happiness, and to invoke the Spirit of Goodness.
First, this morning, my lovely bride of 24 years and I rode through Southern Albemarle County on our tandem. Having moved 12 cubic yards of mulch in the yard on Saturday, we were blessed with a constant reminder of the tons of weight we’d moved with each contraction of our quadriceps muscles punctuating each pedal stroke. With over one half mile of elevation and across 31 miles, we cycled through the chilly, grey morning light past sweeping meadows, rushing rivers, and blooming foliage – dogwoods, mountain laurel, redbuds and azalea. The green erupting from the towering oaks, wind-swept willows, and carpets of lilies seemed to have more vibrancy than years past. Set against the backdrop of the low grey clouds, the colors were even more pronounced. Returning home, we set our first plants out in our freshly tilled garden and then sat in the sunset watching the massive koi in the pond while listening to the chorus of frogs chanting their off-spring into the next circle of life. What an amazing place we call home!
I was reminded, during a weekend dinner conversation, how much I have relished the experience that was set in motion in the Farea Model Village in Papua New Guinea with my dear friends Clemence Kanau and Theresa Arek. The Farea Water Utility – the first community-owned and operated public utility in Papua New Guinea – is now awash in fresh water. For those of you regular readers, you will know that this project provided displaced people a new social, community and economic future having had their previous existence erased by the Exxon LNG project. However, what struck me during a conversation this weekend was something else that the Farea project delivered – joy! For those of you who do not know them, my parents are people who have lived their lives with a sense of purpose – frequently frustrated by situations that have presented more struggle than gratification. However, on the trip to Farea (as you can read in my father’s account), the community that joined together to make the miracle of water happen on the plain east of Jackson Field International Airport instilled in my parents a joy that has not yet erased from their faces nor their stories. And for this, I am grateful beyond words!
Which leads me to the Spirit of Goodness. I am the beneficiary of countless individuals who, at various times in life, have been capable of providing encouragement and motivation that have often gone unnoticed. So, in honor of the embodiment of the Spirit of Goodness, let me call your attention to a few people who, in the recent past, have infused my life with hope and light. Through their passion for Goodness, Goodness has grown in my life. Zach, Bob, Julie, Stuart, Denise, Colin, David, Adam, Katie, Colleen, Theresa, Dex, Dylan, Paul, Ray, Greg, Kim, Bill, Stephanie, Megan, Rod, Jacoby, Ken, April, Jimmy, Linda, Ian, Todd, Nick, Vaida, Josh, Meredith, Hayden, John, Clemence, Lawrence, Chip, Ditrick, Rodney, Allison, Jay, Naomi, Tim, Elaine, Dan, Cyrus, Frank, Patrick, Sandey, Peggy, Elana, Michael, Dustin, Gilson, Baagi, Nergui, Elizabeth, Tony, Moustapha, Omar, Mohammad, Connie, Dan, Mark, Sacha, Edward, Leo, Peter, Luis, Ran, Sharadha, Gustavo, Christine, Erik, Jan, Keld, Krishna, Larry, Laurent, Dori, Michelle, Richard, Leland, Lisette, Lino, Mike, Pieter, Randy, Simon, Tiantian, and so many more that one trillion lines would barely be enough… Thank you!