Friday, March 1, 2013


I've been posting some "wisdom" on my facebook page lately, and I know not everyone who reads the blog follows TDM on facebook. So here you are -- nuggets of thought from your prairie sage (if only I smelled half as good):

I believe that gardens are wildlife preserves. Gardens are moral acts of civil disobedience, the same as if we chained ourselves to tractors digging pipelines or tearing down forests or unzipping last vestiges of prairie. Gardens (native perennial and veg) say no to big ag, big oil, and misguided government owned by special interests. Gardens say no to continuing our violent history with this planet and each other. Gardens are freedom and democracy in the truest spirit. Gardens save lives -- human, bee, bird, wasp, fly, spider, frog.

Out here in Nebraska you can be tarred and feathered for decrying big agriculture. But agreeing that big agriculture destroys just about everything in the environment means we're then complicit -- that the glory days we're in now will not belong to our progeny as we use up everything good; this is a lot to swallow. I don't believe in slowly winning over people, I'm just too impatient and misanthropic. Only through the deliberate work of writing can I order my ranting and raving into something that, perhaps, will slip under the radar and move us back into the world as caretakers and not pillagers. Only through growing prairie plants alongside my writing can I become the language I most want, where words become action then fall away to the glory of butterflies, bees, birds, and some bittersweet taste of hope.

For 5.5 years the subtitle of my blog has been "Poetry, Nonfiction, Gardening, Environment -- All in the Prairie." Today, I changed it to "Living and Writing in the Prairie Echo." It's not a big deal, but I think I finally discovered a term that suits the disconnect between corn fields and prairie preservation / the myth that prairie still exists here. Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Dakotas -- we all live in the prairie echo, and it's getting harder and harder to make out what the echo is saying. 


Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax! said...

That is a good title.

Interesting too that you see gardening as subversive. In England, I think, it's much more closely entwined with our sense of the tradition of ordinary people - say through cottage gardens and allotments - and with the exclusiveness of the righ -through the big estate gardens. Neither are subversive - but nor are they endorsing big agriculture either.

Donna@Gardens Eye View said...

Love the new subtitle and I agree that those of us who garden with natives do so as we thumb our noses at big ag and others...I like being a life saver.

Benjamin Vogt said...

Lucy--Yes, our horticultural tradition is the yeoman farmer, which is a bona fide myth. I wish gardening and SOME sort of love or connection to nature was more a part of our culture, as we'd be healthier for it.
Donna -- Thumbing my nose with you. Now I want orange lifesavers.

Diana Studer said...

oh, I'd like 'Living and Writing in the Prairie Echo' as a new name for your blog! I hear your impassioned voice more clearly than with The Deep Middle, which feels Middle Earth fiction and geography. Benjamin Vogt = prairie, even if that isn't currently his blog's name.