Sunday, February 1, 2009

the larkin line

I was so impressed with my siblings this Christmas. Because a couple of us are involved in Larkin's Compact Project, everyone agreed to honor the spirit of the Compact in the family gift-giving.

For example, Sarah & Bill gave me & my husband a gift certificate for an evening with them at a fine restaurant. And Aunt Sarah gave my daughter a certificate for an afternoon of yarn shopping and lunch. These gifts are not only valued for the fun experiences, but moreover for the gift of sharing our greatest commodity--time!

My younger brother Don works for the public library AND is completing his degree in Urban Planning. So on a new year's trip down to see him in Portland, I was surprised he'd found the time to make us little jars of homemade salsa & hazelnut chocolate sauce. Yum!

And then my sister Beth was fashionably late with her gifts--literally! She sent us homemade fashions! Taking the spirit of the Compact to a whole new level, Beth silk-screened her own art onto reclaimed shirts for every member of our family. Each shirt even came with a recycled paper tag proclaiming it to be part of the "larkin line" of clothing--check it out!

Reading those tags made my heart swell. Not just with pride for what Larkin started, but for what a little thing like this can do to effect change in others. I was thinking about what this year-long commitment means, really. As in, after a year, do we all just go back to how we used to consume? I'd be curious about what the other Compacters feel about this, but my sense is that it would be impossible for me to go back. It's like I know too much now, or something. I've rethought & reworked my routines, I've seen how it can be done, and usually as well or better. I see how much money and, oddly, time I save overall. I see what a difference it makes. I've simply become too aware & intentional a consumer to ever go back. I think that the only thing that will change for me when the year is over is that I won't be telling myself I "can't" solve my need/want problem with a brand new solution. I'll instead be telling myself I "choose not to" most of the time.

When I think about that, I realize that this is so much bigger than one year, or handmade cards, or super hip reclaimed's a lifestyle change. Isn't the ultimate declaration of faith to live as you would have it be? I just don't want to be part of promoting a consumer-based society. Can't we come up with something new as our country's raison d'etre? -k8-

1 comment:

LynnA said...

Kate, I am glad you brought up the subject of continuing, is some way, the Compact project after it is officially over. I have thought that very thing as well. I find I am really enjoying the homemade part, the creative challenge, more gifts of time together. For years now John's birthday gift to me has been dinner and a movie; two activities we really enjoy but rarely do. We try a new restaurant and see a movie we both enjoy. No doubt, as long as there are electronic gizmos on the earth, we will be buying something, but we are more comitted than ever to recycling/donating. I personally think the economy will end up with a new set point and Compacting in some fashion will be a part of it. Lynn