Thursday’s Child – the best time to plant a tree

"The best time to plant a tree is ten years ago", said the girl.
“The best time to plant a tree is ten years ago”, said the girl.
"The second best time is today!" said the hare.
“The second best time is today!” said the hare.

Back in January, did you have a word for 2019?

I actually chose a word but I didn’t ever blog about it. That was partly because we had lots of relations visiting and I didn’t get around to it but it was also because I kept coming upon the idea that that public goal setting can be counter productive. The theory is that you announce, on social media for example, “This year I am going to do X.” Then everyone congratulates you and you end up getting sufficient positive affirmation that you feel like you’ve actually accomplished X when, in fact, you’ve done nothing except express a wish or a vague intention. Whether that is true or not, I don’t know. I can say, however, that I have, so far, remembered my word throughout the year.

My word for the year was ‘Illustration’ and my aim was not to make lots of illustrations but to not avoid making illustrations on occasions when I felt inclined to do that. That doesn’t sound much of a challenge but I actually started this blog in 2011 with the intention of making fabric pictures and the great majority of my making has been much more general sewing and knitting!

As it turned out this has been a year of very little making for me but most of my making has ended up being fairly illustrative and I’ve been able to enjoy creating pictorial quilts for the Endeavourers Challenges without thinking I really should be doing something something more arty and abstract!

Today’s pictures are an assemblage of quilted linen, simple embroidery and three dimensional, posable figures and are inspired by a very interesting conversation between Shane Parrish and Hugh Howey, which I listened to on the Knowledge Project – a series of podcasts comprising all sorts of fascinating discussions hosted by Shane Parrish with a very wide variety of guests. You can find the podcasts and lots of interesting articles on Farnam Street. Part of the discussion is about the things we could have, and feel we should have done years ago but have continually been putting off and the way that “paralyses us and make us feel like all the moments in my life where I could have seized the opportunities ahead of me are all gone”. Hugh Howey says:

A lot of our calcification, the inability to break our stasis and launch our lives in a different direction, is that feeling that we should have done it 10 years ago and we’ve lost the opportunity and now we can’t do it. But 10 years from now, we’re going to think the same thing about this very moment today.

The Knowledge Project Ep. #63

Shane Parrish replies that reminds him of a proverb (which he believes to be French): “The best time to have planted a tree was ten years ago but the second best time is today”.

Today is also, of course, a very good time plant real trees.

Whether your trees are actual or metaphorical, I wish you good luck. I hope all your ‘trees’ will thrive and grow and that in ten years time you will look back and be glad about something you did today :)

Janine @ Rainbow Hare

10 thoughts on “Thursday’s Child – the best time to plant a tree

  1. piecefulwendy

    I love your little illustration, and enjoyed reading the post. It’s so easy for me to think the opportunity is lost so why bother. The quote from Howey is a good one to remember. I should really post it somewhere where I can read it often. So here’s to planting trees — today!


  2. Andree Faubert

    Hi Janine. I’m finally taking some time to catch up on my blog reading and answering comments. I understand about feeling like a project was accomplished just because the intention was posted. I tend to announce my intention with the first concrete block or creation. I have so many ideas and projects and can get pretty overwhelmed by it all. I’ve loved your illustrations and artsy projects but they can take a while to perculate. I’m usually happier with the results when I take the time it takes. Keep on making beautiful work! Andrée


  3. Carol DeLater

    Oh gee, I once told Terry that I wished we could go back in time and do it all over again, even if we don’t know then what we do now. He says no. I would be less careful and more carefree.

    Keep your focus word secret is a good idea. You have done some clever illustrations this year. I recognized your work when I saw the picture in my blog roll. To have a style AND have it recognized is HUGE if only for your self confidence.

    Great illustration and a great post.
    xx, Carol


  4. Kim Sharman

    Could have, would have, should have………….ahh…such is life. It is always a most excellent time to plant a tree. =) I adore your whimsical illustrations, Janine.


  5. Catherine

    Oh I’m going to go and check those podcasts out! Thank you for this article – it’s so true – anguishing about things you haven’t done is pointless but it really does get in the way. I love your images very much.


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