Some years back, a friend of mine retired. To reduce his cost of living, he moved from the large expensive metropolitan area where he’d spent most of his working years, to a small town far from any major city. Not long after, he told me he was having trouble hiring people to do yardwork, house repairs and other work. Not that such people weren’t available, but they worked on their own schedule — which, from the perspective of a city person, was very slow.

“They always want to be out fishing and hunting,” my friend said. The implication being that their priorities were skewed, because why wouldn’t a person always rather be earning money than doing anything else?

What I gathered from this was that the locals very much had their priorities straight. Obviously their household overhead was low enough so they didn’t have to take every single job that came along. So they got plenty of time to do what they loved (which, in this case, also brought them a steady supply of fresh local meat). And my friend always eventually got done the work he needed done — just more on nature’s timetable rather than on his personal timetable.

And a “priority” story closer to home: Today I made a priority of washing sheets and other large laundry items, because it was our first sunny day in a while. (The rain has been wonderful; we’re closing the gap on the drought.) If anyone had called me with a job that needed to get done this morning/early afternoon, I’d have said, “Sorry I can’t today; I have to do laundry.” And would have been perfectly happy about it. The big laundry items had been piling up for awhile, and there is a pure sort of joy in making the most of sunshine, just as there is a pure sort of joy in making the most of rain or any other natural blessing. Looking forward to the smell of sun-dried linens tonight!

And, one more “priorities” story close to home. A church on my street just spent three hours mowing, edging, and blowing its lawn. This is a regular occurrence. I have approached the church in the past about the possibility of a community garden with fruit trees and a vegetable patch, but the folks in charge said basically, “We don’t have the resources for that.” Meanwhile, this church operates a very large-volume food distribution program for low-income people. For several hours every Wednesday, volunteers hand out big bags of groceries to a line of people that often stretches down the street. By the nature of a food-distribution program, perishable fresh produce takes a backseat to canned goods. And what fresh produce there is (such as greens packaged in plastic) is often rotted by the time it reaches the recipients. While I commend the church for its intentions of addressing food insecurity (and for the sheer volume of its charity), I hold out hope that one day the people in charge at the church will come to see a veggie garden and fruit orchard as also being a priority. Imagine if the food recipients had an opportunity to pick their own fresh food and volunteer in the garden; and imagine if the church’s landscaping volunteers were expending their labor on growing something useful rather than just ornamental!