Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Weeding Metaphors

It would be false to say my garden is completely  weeded at this point, but certainly fair to say it's as close as it's going to get.  I've been practicing gardener yoga for two days, nearly continuously, and have perfected the Downward-Facing Windmill (where one bends over at the waist and moves one's hands about delicately), the Fidgeting Dreamer (seated, with chin on knees and hands busily pulling at the ground), and the simply elegant Weeder's Squat.  My garden is larger than I remembered, when one systematically deals with it foot by foot.

I admire the weeds.  Few living things are so unwanted yet so resilient.  But weeding really made me think about Donna Haraway's book and her writing about metaphor.  She commented, somewhere in the several of her tomes I read in grad school, on the arbitrariness of separating flesh and blood, muscle and bone. We use the metaphor of their separate existence to be able to talk about useful characteristics.  But what is the muscle without the bone or without nerves?  Something else entirely.  Nerves and bone and muscle and whatever else are all bound up in a body, interacting in ways that exceed the limited capacity of any part, as a whole that transcends such divisions.  So is it with soil and root.  Where do the roots end and the soil begin?  I tried to shake off the soil from the weeds' roots--inevitably, roots return to the soil that way, enabling the weed to regrow.  And where does the soil end?  It takes part in the root-i-ness too, and will always be part of the roots.  In weeding, I remove some of my precious topsoil.  These seemed like more academic points to me until this afternoon, when the true and genuine marriage of soil and root and leaf became very, very apparent.

Even the mulch that I put on just last week has interlaced itself with dirt and root.  It would be impossible to remove all the mulch; it is impossible to remove the weeds without likewise disturbing the mulch.   As soon as the mulch entered my yard, it was part and parcel of the Garden Tapestry.  Reminds me of the myth of "native-ity."  When I entered Argentina, I became part of it for a while, and it became part of me.  Am I any less American for this?  When immigrants enter the United States, as soon as they enter the land they begin to be shaped by American cultural forces and policy and the land itself.  How can our country decide so many people, living in these United States, are not sufficiently American to be welcomed?

Also, an update on the Brownback Watch:
Unsurprisingly, the governor and his minions don't wish to respond to direct questions and won't participate in an interview about the decision to close the SRS office in Lawrence:

Dictatorial thinkers see no reason to justify their decisions to the affected masses.  We must demand community control over the community resources distributed to those most in need; and lacking that, community access.  This is small government from a fascist perspective--reduce the number of offices and the services provided (the access to government), increase regulations and control over our day-to-day lives.  Reduce the funding for "government schools," increase the penalties for people who can't use their ever-more-limited education to succeed in the job market.

To combat my furious rage, I'm going to plant carrots.  Veg out, comrades.

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