Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Gardens Honor & Harm Nature

Gardens already come with a prepackaged, innate illness -- our hubris. The manipulations we make of nature do both honor and harm to it, even if we come into garden making with the most noble and loving intentions. The reality of the latent illness in garden making doesn't negate the spirit of gardening, and it shouldn't undermine why we are out there smelling flowers and touching dirt; what the reality should do, however, is more openly and fully question both our motives and our outcomes. When we are questioned or challenged our garden making can become deeper and more meaningful not only to us, but to all of the species whose homes and lives we are inviting ourselves into.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Keep Smiling, and Avoid Necessary Change or Empowerment

I have long been a critic of our western / American culture's focus on putting a happy spin on everything; why, just the other day I was told to move to Iowa and not be such a killjoy because I suggested releasing balloons at Husker football games was mass pollution. Bummer, all those birds strangled to death, but what can you do? Balloons are fun.

But here's Joanna Macy saying things perfectly (not about balloons) -- and you bet this is going in the new book. 

“To discover what we know and feel is not as easy as it sounds, because a great deal of effort in contemporary society is devoted to keeping us from being honest. Entire industries are focused on maintain the illusion that we are happy, or on the verge of being happy as soon as we buy this toothpaste or that deodorant or that political candidate. It is not in the self-perceived interests of the state, the multinational corporations, or the media that serve them both, that we should stop and become aware of our profound anguish with the way things are.

None of us, in our hearts, is free of sorrow for the suffering of other beings. None of us is indifferent to the dangers that threaten our planet’s people, or free of fear for the generations to come. Yet when we are enjoined to ‘keep smiling,’ ‘be sociable,’ and ‘keep a stiff upper lip,’ it is not easy to give credence to this anguish.

Suppression of our natural responses to actual or impending disaster is part of the disease of our time, as Robert Jay Lifton, the American psychiatrist who pioneered the study of the psychological effects of nuclear bombs, explains. The refusal to acknowledge or experience these responses produces a profound and dangerous splitting. It divorces our mental calculations from our intuitive, emotional, and biological imbeddedness in the matrix of life. That split allows us passively to acquiesce in the preparations for our own demise.”

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Hummingbird Rain

First day back from a long weekend up north. Finally lumber out to the garden as my lunch is heating up. I'm not too happy with the landscape and wish I had more time (and knowledge, and money) to do what I really want. There are still beautiful, meaningful things going on -- and dreams abound to plan for. I stake a flopping aster, I sow some liatris, I bend to smell a salvia and hear the booming drone of a hummingbird with its strange, sharp calls peppered in. It lands on a dead branch of a nearby tree. How rare to see them so still. The hummingbird's head darts side to side for 20 seconds before it lifts off and vanishes.

5 minutes in the garden. 5 minutes of waking to imperfection. 20 seconds of being blessed, yet again, for stepping outside of myself to find my world as right as rain.