Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Rosanne Jaekels Blakeney (my Mom, Rosie) died on World Water Day, March 22, 2010. That might seem an odd piece of trivia to share when a cherished wife, mother, and all around exemplary human has gone on to her next life, or whatever it is that we go on to, but it is appropriate in this case. World Water Day sprang from the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro. The goal was to implement access to clean water and safe sanitation for the poorest communities around the globe by the year 2015, and to help communities find sustainable ways to manage and pay for water.
Food cannot be grown without water, communities cannot be built without water, and sanitary living conditions cannot be achieved without water. The driving forces behind World Water Day recognized that pipes, cement, and infrastructure could not do the job without engaging individual people and communities.
Rosie had no ties to World Water Day, but she believed with her whole heart in the power of the individual, the power of one spirit to make a measurable, palpable difference in the lives and fortunes of others. She never abandoned her optimistic belief in the power of one, unlike so many of us who are jaded and hardened by the realities of the working week, or the idiocy of our political squabbles, or the seeming inconsequence of a simple kindness done for another, yet unseen by any other witness. Rosie believed in the power of that one seed.
She taught me about the magic contained in a seed. On her bookshelf is a volume titled "The Seed-Starter's Handbook". It is a first edition, and proves that Rosie was 'green' long before green was cool. I remember she grew tomato plants at our first house, and at the second house had Dad build a greenhouse so she could get a head start on the food that she would grow for her family for the next several years (I found the greenhouse fascinating, although I didn't contribute to any of its activities at the time). She bought seedlings on occasion, but I think she really enjoyed it the most when she witnessed the birth of a plant that would become part of a family meal.
I purchased a copy of the second edition of the same book several years after moving away from my parents' house, and it led to my own love of bringing forth life from a seed. It's funny, I don't remember ever seeing Mom's copy of that book when I lived at home, as I'm sure I was far too busy with my own important comings and goings, and much too involved with other, more pressing pursuits. Now my greatest dream is to put up my own greenhouse and tend to emerging life, and the life it may provide or enhance for others, for the rest of my own.
It is my intent to honor Rosie's Rebirth and World Water Day every year from now on. If we only had a few more Rosies in the world, we wouldn't have to conduct United Nations Conferences on Environment and Development to ensure that the least of our brethren had access to the most basic of needs. It's time to stand up and disperse more of Rosie's seeds, I think.