Greetings. Grace to you and peace from the earth shouting to be free.
This weekend has been lovely. I was able to spend some time at the farmers' market, one of the few places where I feel the great turning may be imminent, where we may be close to a better world, a tastier, less contrived, more connected world. Saturday marked our first delivery from our CSA (community-supported agriculture) membership! Our gracious farmers provided us with delicious kale, lettuce, radishes, and fresh eggs. I've been planning to join a CSA ever since we found out about them while living in Argentina, and being part of one makes me feel like we're participating in a potentially liberating organization. I look forward to aligning our menu more closely with seasonal fare.
Beautiful music serenaded shoppers at the market, and all that good energy from being around the plants helps me get excited to go back to work. In my listening habits, my iPod has played virtually nothing but Chumbawamba for the last few weeks. Their newest album, ABCDEFG, celebrates the joy of music--albeit with the usual brave sprinkling of anarchy. The first few tracks are so hauntingly beautiful that I can hardly get past them; I want to listen to them over and over again, with their vision of a world where the people rise and sing, the revolution with music, singing for a good life. The gentle folk styling varies somewhat from the rock-ier "Tubthumping," closer to the "British Rebel Songs." A sample lyric:
Lost in the middle of a demonstration (Everyone sang)
All power to imagination (Everyone sang)
Reminds me of a rally we attended in February in support of the Wisconsin union members where we closed by singing "This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land," a beautiful moment of solidarity.
I can't but help think about my upbringing with the Mennonites in a rural Great Plains state--for fun, we got together and sang, held bonfires and sang, ice skated and sang. They didn't know they were anarchists, to be sure, but the amusements I enjoyed with them were pretty much exactly the amusements that I see the world being able to support after the turning, when all can claim their birthright to a flourishing life.
When it comes to a flourishing life, there is little recently that has given me as much joy as gardening! My small and poorly planned garden now has tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, thyme, oregano, mint, rosemary, sage, basil, lettuce, summer squash, and butternut squash planted. The tomato plants grow every day--as soon as I get home from work, I go outside to count the new blooms. As I was discussing with a friend this weekend, my gardening philosophy can be summed up as, "If it's meant to be, it will grow." Now I recognize this is not a good strategy for long-term agricultural success, but it works well for this neophyte. I remember my childhood in that far-off Great Plains state, and every year my brother and I would plant marigold seeds in the garden and pray that they would come up, make little plants, sprout little flowers, little spots of color in the brief brief summer granted us.
The flowers never sprouted.
I developed a long-term cynicism towards the ability of plants to actually grow based on these early experiments. In retrospect, I can only imagine that the temperatures were so freaking cold even during early spring that the seeds froze to death, and we never had the patience to wait to sow them until the nights were warm enough. I cherished a belief, however, that my thumb was simply not green enough to do anything but squash plants.
But when we were in Argentina, I realized that everyone had some plants in whatever ground was available to them. Buying herbs was a quaint and strange practice reserved for the exceptionally lazy, and I was basically shamed into trying to plant some as soon as I had a piece of land available to me. Voila, my oregano and rosemary prospered with virtually no work from me! If you are trying to convince yourself that gardening can be done, these are good to start with. I now believe that my presence does not kill all plants indiscriminately (although it still appears to have a stifling effect on basil).
I suppose for the good of the peppers and basil, the wild strawberry vines should really go. But I can't bring myself to destroy a single bit of these beautiful, flowering, fruity miracles. If such things could prosper in Great Plains HomeState, they were completely unknown to me, and when these vines appeared of their own accord in our yard last year, I was struck with childlike wonder--food! in my yard! colorful apparitions that nature came up with! Forget beer--wild strawberries are the true proof that God/ess loves us and wants us to be happy.