• Last modified 1060 days ago (Aug. 25, 2021)


Another Day in the Country

Trying to do good can be, well, just plain trying

© Another Day in the Country

An adage, “Live and learn,” that reminds us there always are unseen consequences for actions we take — whether those actions are positive or negative, beneficial or harmful. It’s only by venturing into the unknown, living, that we gain new knowledge.

I was thinking about the learning process this week when I attempted to do something good and it ended up bad.

I tend to be a do-it-yourselfer, studying up on natural remedies. So a week or so ago, when I had something on my ankle that was being what I call “pesty,” I wanted to help it heal. I didn’t know what was causing the irritation. I’d tried various salves and disinfectants that weren’t doing the trick, so I ventured forth.

Sometimes, in the past, when a sore has resisted healing, I’ve put a poultice on it — a mixture of charcoal and olive oil that seems to draw out the infection.

I’ve used this remedy on everything from chickens to cats, including myself, and it works. This time, I decided instead of olive oil to up the odds of it working and used tea tree oil, forgetting that tea tree oil comes in concentrated form and needs to be diluted.

For good measure, I also decided to put some heat on the area via my trusty wheat sock — a magical thing, if you’ve ever used one.

During the course of this intervention with Mother Nature, my skin was stinging.

“Good,” I thought to myself, “that must mean it’s working.”

I endured the discomfort for what I thought would be a healing outcome, but I was wrong. Live and learn. 

Later, when I washed away the charcoal, I realized I’d only made matters worse. I’d ended up with a burn on my skin where there once had been only a bump.

In retrospect, I’m embarrassed at my lack of caution, my reckless zeal — even over a relatively small thing.

It got me thinking about all the people through the years who’ve tried new things with much bigger consequences than my experimenting with essential oils.

Trying something new is always risky, and the consequences keep multiplying with every person it touches. My little oil experiment affected just me. But think of the ramifications of someone trying something for the first time that eventually impacts everyone.

When Mark Zuckerberg invented Facebook, he was just messing around, trying to figure out how to meet pretty girls, as I read the story.

It was a late-night lark with some of his college buddies, and I rather doubt he ever imagined he’d be called before the United States Senate to testify.

He’d invented a tool, a platform, that concentrated social interaction — like someone concentrating tea tree oil — a good thing. But it’s application could be harmful. Caution needed.

All the innovators, the inventors, attempting new things, face this challenge. How would this new thing change us? They had no way of knowing. Many of these new things had long-lasting, worldwide ramifications.

When Henry Ford invented his car — a vehicle for the people, giving personal freedom for transportation anywhere — I doubt he was troubled about air pollution. He was much more focused on cleaning up cities, freeing them from horse manure in the streets and making a living.

When America and Russia first began vying for space travel, venturing beyond the earth to the moon, I doubt that scientists were worrying about corrupting the atmosphere. They were focused on achieving this amazing never-before-done goal. And now I hear reports of all the trash left behind in space that threatens to collide with the space station or destroy communication satellites that we depend on.

We live and learn. We humans tend to pollute the environment without thinking of the consequences.

When chemical fertilizers were invented years and years ago, I’m sure the farmers were ecstatic. This was miraculous! You could double, triple, quadruple your crop with this stuff.

How many years did it take for us to learn that chemicals have ramifications on the soil, on the underground water, on the people who consume the food and on the air we all breathe. 

You hear those ramifications of new concoctions nightly on television, droning on and on with possible side-effects, every time some new medication is invented.

Medications can be immensely helpful, but there also are consequences for introducing them into your body.

Thankfully, our marvelous bodies were designed to heal, even when we make mistakes. The planet also is designed to heal, if we learn from our mistakes.

Living in a rural area with its slower pace and its lower population also can be healing. So let’s give thanks for our rural lifestyle, and the opportunity to live another day in the country.

Last modified Aug. 25, 2021