Wednesday 28 Sep 2016

Please Eat Me
M Alan Roberts

It's gonna be a hot one here in NE Georgia today. I can always tell even before the sunshine hits. There's a calm, stuffy feeling in the air around me as I exit the front door and head for the garden area. Of course, Buckethead has already been out for a while now. Having already dug his first hole for the day, his nose is a dry red from the Georgian clay. I used to tell him not to dig, but then I asked myself why one day. We're surrounded by thousands of acres of wilderness and there's just no good reason why a dog should be restricted from digging a little spot to find that cool dirt below. He likes laying down spread-eagle in the pits he digs - must cool the blood.

Anyway, as I head for my gardening tools which are leaning up against the front wall of the house, I notice that there are several new fire-ant hills that I will have to contend with later in the day. It seems every time it rains, there is an explosion of the ever-so-common, tiny-marbled mounds. I put a sign out last year trying to sell some of the menacing scavengers, but nobody was buying - guess they have their own, or maybe they're just ant haters. People shouldn't hate so much.

Gathering my shovel, hoe and rake, I make the final steps towards the garden's perimeter - and I take a minute, like I do every morning, to center my mind as to why I am here and what I am doing. You see, gardening, to me, is about a lot more than just growing some vegetables and flowers; it's about living a meditative life and trying to escape as much of the effort being directed to killing me from the US government as I can. My plants are grown organically: organic soil, organic heirloom seeds, no pesticides, no herbicides - just honest and real plants for sustaining life.

Of course, there is extra work involved in organic gardening. If you use the chemicals available to control the bugs and weeds, things are a lot easier. It's also easier to just buy some food at McDonald's than it is to prepare a wholesome meal at home. The differences to me are more than worth the additional effort required. And, as stated, gardening is about a lot more than food.

I truly enjoy getting my hands down into the soil and allowing its essence to infiltrate my skin, my clothing - and my mind. My hands are the best tools that I have ever owned. They are what gets the job done to detailed perfection. Meshing with the environment, I wonder why more people don't seem to feel the same way. I can remember clearly when everyone (I thought) sowed a garden each spring. Enjoying the bounty of their crops all through the summer and into autumn made them all healthier. The time spent together working the ground also made them happier - more closely unified as families. Try getting a teenager to help with the garden today. You would have to bribe them, threaten them or beat them into submission first.

It's early in the season now, but I've been working this ground every day for the last month already. Sweet corn that's almost a foot tall calls to me as I am preparing a spot for the Brussels sprouts. Behind me, to my left, I can see the Burpee Big Boy tomato plants - already more than 24 inches and flowering - in my peripheral vision. A quick flash of an autumn-set daydream dominates my thoughts. In it, I am practicing the not-so-long-ago, commonly-employed art of canning to store some of them for the winter. The ears of corn are sealed and stored in the freezer. I smile to myself and continue the task at hand.

I've worked the soil into 4 rows evenly-spaced at just about 2 feet apart for the Brussels. Brussels sprouts are a personal favorite - their little cabbage-like, brainless heads, packed with Vitamin A and loads of other nutrients, scream out my name and beckon me to devour them. They know that they are there for my enjoyment. They are honored to simply have the chance to elongate and enhance my health. I smile on the inside again at the thought of a personified Brussels sprout saying, "Please eat me!". It's just hoping to be the next on my plate to be impaled by my fork - or perhaps jousted with a singular chopstick.

My gardening session is drawing to a close for this day. The sunlight will not gain enough power to make the day boil for at least a few hours yet. It's early - just after 7. Starting the days here makes them go smoother. Getting in touch with the earth in the garden has a mildly sedative effect on me. I place my tools back in their respective spots to await my arrival tomorrow, and then set off towards the front door again. Buckethead meets my eyes with his - asking if he may in fact come back in for a mid-morning nap (and maybe a snack) before his guarding duties officially begin for this day. I allow the request and he happily dances up to the door in front of me - and wags anxiously.

As he crashes through the door even as I am opening it in true Man-wolf style, I follow his lead. Entering, I see my laptop waiting for me - wanting to be fired up and made use of again. It's another peaceful day here in the country. I appreciate that as I head for the shower. I think of all the people who must be rushing around, still tired from yesterday, spilling coffee and cussing each other on the highway.

And I wonder why they do it. I want to know why they don't just slow down - and plant a garden instead.

M Alan Roberts is a radical thinker. He has a gimlet eye for injustice, much as did Frederich Engels, a century and a half before. Still, Roberts finds a way to write effective SEO copy. This suggests both sides of his brain, his mind, work equally well.

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