This is not a Hawaiian fable, it’s real life – AllSwell Creative

This is not a Hawaiian fable, it’s real life

Posted by AllSwell Creative on

Photo by Scott Rudin

Hey, friend.

Can you make a difference? Yes. Can you change yourself? Yes.

I’ve got a story for you.

Last week I was fortunate enough to pay a private visit to the Merwin Conservancy’s palm sanctuary in Haiku, Maui.* There I saw what one person can do. William S. Merwin took a piece of land destroyed and left for dead by short-sighted corporate agriculture and brought it back to thriving life. But it didn’t happen overnight.

First, Merwin planted 1,000 native plants with his own hands. They all died. Every. Single. One.

Despite that outcome, he didn’t quit. Instead he turned his efforts to palms, which are technically part of the grass family, “vascular tubes” rather than trees, scientifically speaking.

He planted and planted. Many of them died, but more lived.

40 years later, over 3,000 hand-planted palms representing more than 480 species -- some exceedingly rare “holy grail palms” -- are thriving on this former wasteland. It is lush and beautiful, pulsing with green life and all that comes with it (I have the mosquito bites to prove it).

The 19-acre forest is a living 3-dimensional poem, a testament to vision, patience, and grit. This is not a Hawaiian fable; it’s real life. And W.S. Merwin is no slouch when it comes to words, either. He’s a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet laureate.

Welcome to the long play: seemingly small changes that yield great results over time. That’s what a few minutes a day of putting pen to paper can do for you. Planting one palm is good, planting 3,000 palms is better - just like journaling once in a while is good but consistency has exponential rewards. After a while you can look back and see how you used this simple tool to transform your life into a lush, verdant ecosystem.

This installment of AllSwell Reads includes some long-play changemakers, too. I hope you enjoy their stories and they inspire you to tell your own.

In Swellness,

* Generously orchestrated by New York Times best-selling author Susan Casey.

Photo by Heidi Zumbrun

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