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Turn in the Leaves

This turf, overturned,
awaits autumn’s deposits,
seed money for spring.

Recently, the Dow Jones has gone up or down by hundreds of points every day. It seems dramatic. It seems important, if only because important people seem to think that it’s important, because wealthy people worry about it.

As for me, I worry less about what the stock price for Google is than I worry about how I’m going to continue to feed my family given the fragile state of the businesses I work in.

When the paper economy is fragile, we need to turn to something more solid. We need to look to the ground again.

It’s the ground that’s the real foundation of wealth. The stock market is just a far removed symbolic representation of that. It’s from the ground that the food we eat grows, from which we get the most basic energy we need. We can’t drink gasoline. We can’t eat electricity.

It’s the autumn of the year. Leaves are falling down, and all over the country, people are raking up those leaves and putting them on the curb.

I suggest an alternative: Turn the leaves in. If you’ve got a bit of ground, open it up, and dig the leaves into it instead of throwing them away like garbage. Throw some old tomatoes in, or some squash gone bad. They’ve got seeds in them, and they’ll grow next year. Toss in some potatoes that have started to grow roots in your cupboard. It’s just a small source of wealth that most Americans aren’t working at any more, but when 350 million people abandon even a small source of wealth, it adds up to a big loss.

Those leaves that fall from the trees around us contain a real wealth that we could nourish us through hard times next year. Turn them in instead of throwing them out.

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