Why Plan Ahead?


by Ana Grarian

What does it mean to have everything readily available and not have to plan ahead? This thought came to me while listening to Gary Snyder talk about his poem Hay for the Horses. Gary had a summer job stacking hay bales for use over the winter. Planning ahead so that in the depth of winter snow there would be hay, for the horses, where it was needed.

Today we don’t have to plan ahead much. I can buy a last minute birthday present at Walmart. If I forgot to do the laundry I can pick up a last minute outfit to wear to the party. If I didn’t plan ahead for dinner I can buy it as take out on the way home, or have it delivered. If I want guacamole at midnight in January in Upstate NY, I can find an avacado in a 24 hour grocery, or buy it pre-made. Heck I can even purchase a term paper on-line.

Wallace Stegner said that we Americans divide into two groups, boomers and stickers. The boomers are always thinking that something is better somewhere else, that whatever they have or whatever they are is no good.

What does it mean to have everything readily available and not have to plan ahead?

Doesn’t it mean that I can take everything for granted? If it’s not available here they’ll have it there. I can just move, change suppliers, pay a little more, make or break a contract.

I don’t have to worry about people to work in my plant. There’s always another third world country to exploit. I don’t care about the soil. I can always add more fertilizer. I can buy my way out of any situation. I don’t need my neighbors. I can buy help or simply buy off my neighbors.

There will always be more clean water somewhere.

Until there isn’t.