make-believe: springtime

March 1, 2017

make-believe: springtime | reading my tea leaves


The past week or two has felt like something of a make-believe spring in Brooklyn. We’ve had unseasonably warm days flanked by seasonably chilly ones. Bodegas are filled with daffodil blooms, tree pits are sheltering crocus shoots, ankles have started peeping rebelliously between pants and shoes. I’ve worn my jean jacket nearly every day. Reminder: The calendar says March 1. 

Determined not to harp entirely on the fact that all of this warmth can’t mean much that’s good for our struggling planet, here’s a little celebration of spring and the perfectly mundane miracle of being able to plant tiny seeds in brown dirt and get something cheery and bright in return.

french terry tee for laughing in the face of dirt smears and grass stains.

A beautiful reference guide to all things herby.

A pair of sunglasses for fending off rays.

leaf-green bra and undies for channeling green shoots.

seed-filled face oil for a youthful glow.

Golden earrings for catching the light.

A pair of high-waisted jeans that get better with age.

gardening caddy for a someday harvest.

plant dibber for sewing lettuce and chicory seeds.

Tomato-red clogs because it’s make-believe. Who says you can’t garden in open-toed sandals?


Action Items:

In an effort to ground all of this make-believing in something a bit more down to earth, here are a few things we can do today to help the planet and each other:

For kids who need gardens: Support FoodCorps, a nonprofit (founded by my brother-in-law) that connects kids to healthy food in schools.

For the future of farming: Preorder Letters to a Young Farmer, a collection of essays on food and farming from my old stomping grounds, Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture.

For reducing emissions: If you don’t already, try cutting down your meat consumption in the name of reducing greenhouse gases. One study shows that widespread adoption of a vegetarian diet would reduce emissions by nearly two-thirds, but even a commitment to a Meatless Monday would be a step in the right direction. (While it’s still not quite spring, try this!)

For the stewards of the planet: Read this essay from a current EPA employee and weep (with sorrow and with joy).

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  • Reply Lynn March 1, 2017 at 9:31 am

    The weather has been ridiculous in DC too. They’re predicting peak Cherry Blossom bloom in mid-March, a few weeks before the actual festival. Today is 80 degrees and stormy, but they’re talking snow flurries for Friday. So…yeah. I’m confused and I have no idea what to wear.

  • Reply Kelly libby March 1, 2017 at 11:07 am

    FoodCorps was started by your brother in law??!!!! What??!!!! Sooooo unbelievably awesome! Thats an organization i have been reading a lot about lately. I would love to learn more. Wow. Just wow.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE March 1, 2017 at 11:49 am

      It was! It’s such a great organization doing such important work!

  • Reply Jessie March 1, 2017 at 11:51 am

    Oh the craziness of climate change – northern CA has been much colder and wetter than normal (good for minimizing drought, bad for flooding…). We just bought a house in the depths of winter and I can’t wait for things to dry out a bit so I can get to work on landscaping and gardening! As someone who works in a sustainability profession, I’m vacillating between the power of resistance and my fear for the future of our planet (and my livelihood). Keep fighting the good fight!

  • Reply Courtney March 1, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    Did you work at Stone Barns? I’ve been so tempted to try an apprenticeship..

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE March 1, 2017 at 12:25 pm

      I did! I did a summer practicum there in graduate school and then worked there for about a year after graduating!

  • Reply Erin March 1, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    Those shoes. I am lusting over their Emily clogs.

  • Reply Erika March 1, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    Erin, I have been wanting to e-mail your or comment to ask if you could write a post about hope for the future in the face of climate change. I have two little girls, soon to be ages 4 and 2. My greatest fear for their future is the destruction of our Earth, and of course all living flora and fauna, including ourselves. How can I keep up hope and stay positive for our children? What are the actions that I (we!) can take that have the greatest impact? How can I overcome my guilt about bringing my daughters into this crazy world? These are the questions that keep circling through my mind. It would be so helpful to read your thoughts.

  • Reply E March 1, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    I have a bachelor’s and master’s degree in environmental science and have been an environmental consultant for quite some time now. To be honest, I’m getting so tired of being REACTIVE about environmental concerns. I am ready to become PROACTIVE and start working on environmental education. I’ve joined my town’s environmental commission and green team/sustainability committee but, like Erika posted above, I’m not even sure where to start when it comes to making a career change to mirror my shifting opinion.

  • Reply Alix March 1, 2017 at 7:59 pm

    Arrgh, I love that bra/undies set so much! Cannot believe that company considers size 8 to be “large”. 🙁

  • Reply Gigi Lin March 1, 2017 at 11:52 pm

    Thanks for the balance of links, both for sparking the imagination and also the inner activist! I’m eager to start gardening again after the wet spell this winter.

  • Reply firstmilk March 2, 2017 at 9:59 am

    Best game I have so far developed: DIBBER, NOSTEPINNE, OR SPURTLE?

  • Reply Annie March 2, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    Erin, are you still a vegetarian? I found the article about eating less meat extremely interesting!

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE March 2, 2017 at 1:47 pm

      I occasionally eat fish and I eat eggs and dairy, but yes, I’ve been mostly vegetarian for most of my life.

  • Reply Ana Henriques March 2, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    Hello! Is ‘Action Items’ new? If so (or not), I’m really glad. A part of my downtime during the day (stay-at-home mom of 2, teacher of art by trade) is exploring ideas that invigorate me (making, homemaking, simplifying, art & poetry) and ideas that give rise to action (which too can be invigorating). Sometimes I feel a little stuck…how much time can I really afford myself to any of these items? What kind of action can I partake in, whilst I am home making? (Indeed I am involved in a local group, here in New Haven CT, where we make necessary calls and write letters. But it often feels like there is so much more to be done). I’m not completely sure where I am getting at really, haha. I do appreciate big world discussion points like being a steward of the planet, all the while enjoying the little worlds of life in a tiny apartment. Keep up the informative writing/discussion/ and thoughtful posts. Thank you!

  • Reply Samantha Lee March 2, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    Bring on springtime! I am SO ready (even though in LA I can’t really claim we’ve had a “winter). LOVE those high waist jeans and those clogs! <3

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