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The Furry Weather Report: Warm and Dry

I'm going to resist the temptation to hold forth at length this time and just report that the weather is turning warmer and drier. We've had an unusual (and on my part, quite welcome) amount of rain this year, but the California summer is rapidly approaching. I have a patch of California Poppies beside my driveway, and Sunshine, out big orange-and-white cat who is afraid of his own shadow, was nestled among them yesterday. It was a beautiful sight.

That patch was carefully nurtured back from the death I thought it suffered at the careless hands of some neighborhood boys last year, who yanked out everything despite my pointing out the poppies and telling them to leave them be. The boys didn't bother pulling things out by their roots, though, which meant more weeding by hand this year for me, but it also meant that the poppies they massacred had a chance to come back too. And they did.

About those boys—I hired them because one of them said he wants to run a yard maintenance service when he grows up. I made the mistake of thinking that that meant he cared about plants, instead of just wanting to make what he saw as an easy living.

I was rapidly disabused of my idealistic notion as soon as I started to tell him about some of the more rarely seen herbs and other plants I grow--not in a pendantic or boring way, mind you; I just pointed to a few of them and said what they were. The non-comprehending look I got back from this boy (in his mid-teens, by the way), and the all-too-obvious, barely contained "who gives a f*ck, lady?" at the tip of his tongue told me instantly of the mistake I had made, and I let it drop. With misgivings, I allowed him and his partner in crime to weed my poppy patch, asking him to weed around the poppies and to pull the weeds out by the roots, both of which requests they blithely ignored. I will never hire him again, of course.

I thought about telling him that if he is interested in yardwork, he might want to learn which plants are not weeds, and learn how to pull weeds, for that matter, and even learn how to fake a polite interest if he can't muster a genuine one, but I could tell that he didn't really care. Maybe he will as he grows older, or maybe he'll think of another way to get rich, but it really isn't my business to try to educate him in why he might lose customers.

Though this ties in with my earlier essay on the death of loyalty—quality as a part of good customer service. There is a certain attitude that many people have, an attitude that states that what other people think or care about isn't important, that may possibly get such people far in the short run, but will bite them where it hurts in the long run. They may even make it to the age of 60 or so before the spiritual and emotional desert they call their heart finally rises up in protest and demands the sweet surcease of a spiritual rain. They may not ever heed the call from their heart to listen to it and to set their feet on a better path; at least, not in this lifetime. But the call is always there, whether one heeds it or no, and cannot be denied forever. This lifetime or next, or the tenth one later, one must eventually learn to listen.

It's a matter of attitude, and at the heart of it is the desire to create something of quality in one's life—to create a life that is the very definition of quality. Without that desire to create quality, you get boys like my neighbor's son, who doesn't give a flying cornflake's hoot about quality, and wouldn't have a clue if I started talking about it. But underneath that is what some might even call love, which comes from the heart, not the head. Without that feeling, one doesn't produce anything of quality. I guarantee it. And it isn't escapable, at least not forever. To paraphrase the Course in Miracles, following the path of love is a required course. The only choice you have is of when you take it.

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