To Save or Savor the World

Dandelion gone to seed, savoring and saving the world

“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve (or save) the world and a desire to enjoy (or savor) the world.  This makes it hard to plan the day.”  — E.B. White

I read this quote in 2008, and in the 10 years since I’ve accepted it as spot-on.  It resonated so fully within me: the pull between wanting to protect, defend, and fight for the world and wanting to laugh, explore, and sink into the world’s beauty.  The two acts appeared so separate.

But this morning I woke with these words in my head, and for the first time it hit me that they’re not separate at all.

I don’t have to save or savor.

In fact, I can’t do just one or the other.  And besides, it doesn’t even start with saving.

Savoring leads to saving, because savoring leads to love.

We don’t save what we don’t love.

So savor, savor savor.  Go adventure, or sit still outside in your favorite spot.  Sink into the beauty of this world, and let it seep into your heart.

Seed, plant, and grow what brings you joy.  

More than anything, it’s joy and beauty and love that will save the world.  Because it’s joy and beauty and love that will hold us through the despair of loss, that will bolster us in the midst of the hard work, that will soften us when we need rest.

I know the vulnerability in these words.  I know you might want to believe them, but fear it’s too small, too gentle, too late.

But think of dandelions: a tiny seed that flies on silk.  It lands on a sidewalk, roots in, and grows between the crack.  Abandoned parking lots get taken over by plants one root, stem, and leaf at a time.  Transformation from concrete to supple life happens one seed at a time.

If a seed can do it, you can, too.

You don’t have to save the entire world.  All you have to do is savor it.  

Allow yourself the pleasure of rooting in, of belonging, of savoring.  The resulting liveliness of your own heart will do the rest.


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