Who is the Gardener?

I have learned this week what I already knew but had no words for. I am not the gardener in this land, but the garden that the land makes. Needle-and-thread grass makes me, with its sprays of delicate light in the wind and its way of drilling its seeds into the soil using the heating and cooling of days and nights. It is a beautiful plant that connects me to childhood and mystery. It also thrives in this dry climate.
In comparison, the weed-choked land, the gift of bad cattle management, and the orchard land it was developed into a little over a century ago, create different selves. I follow their paths, often unknowingly, and thus am created by them in their image. It is often an ugly image.

It replaces eternal ones, such as this doe and her year-old fawn, who watch me out of the last snow, in sagebrush that has turned weedy from overgrazing by cattle. There is little for them here now, but her gaze tends me, and make me in her image. I am gardened.

Many of the old orchards are weeds of mustard now. The idea of chopping the land into small spaces did not produce people with the ability to develop a culture other than to develop into the weeds that speak most clearly of the introduction of foreign crops in this ancient space. These weeds, and the people who buy and sell the land they grow on, are gardened not by the land and its water but by sets of laws imposed upon them.

But they are still gardened. To say that we, humans, have a garden is to say that we stand in the place of the earth and try to recreate that relationship to our own benefit. Here’s a glimpse into my garden this morning.

It, of course, also gardens me, if I let it. I do. I’m not the only one. A woman down the road has sown poppies in the cheatgrass and rescued a barren, scarred hill into a delight that can recreate the land for thousands.

We make ourselves by tending the land, so that it can tend to us. If we cover it with black plastic to kill that relationship, our children will grow up in a zone of death. It will take time, but it will come. That is not gardening.

This is gardening:

This is respect.

Little Green Apple Ghosts

When flowering plants came on the earth they raised their blossoms into the air, and coloured them brightly with light, so that insects, the creatures of air and light, would find them. Together, these two groups developed in potential together, yet no matter how far they have gone on this joint journey the original gesture of lifting the point of renewal into the light remains and is one of the strongest, abiding characteristics of (for example) the rose and all her daughters. Even the apples (a very robust rose) below retain the gesture of the flower as their stems swell around the growing seeds in the ovaries, fertilized by the bees that came to the flower’s light.
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Humans, too, contain these ghosts, or spirits, of the original gestures out of which we have grown, and of the environments we have grown with, which includes the world of apples, for whom all of history has been no time at all but is still opening, beautifully, into the light.

Beautify The World for 2,000 People For $20

Orchard with flax in the ‘hood.P1820273

Orchard without flax (3 kilometres down the road.)

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Currently, flax fibre goes for $10 for every 50 grams. Plus, once you’ve made a set of wedding sheets, you can have a healthy breakfast, with flax seeds. You can share with the birds, right?

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It’s perennial. The poisoning in the next image has to be done over and over again. I mean, if that’s your thing.

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$20.

P1810242That’s a big bag of seed.

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$20 to rebuild the world. No irrigation required. (The stuff is indigenous.)

P1820269$100 for a light-duty weed eater, plus $12 for every replacement monofilament spool. No wedding sheets, either.P1810524Plus gas. And hearing protection. And steel-toed boots. And a leaf blower to “clean up.” Starting at $150. Plus the same additional costs. And noise. Lots of noise. Like an Apache Longbow Attack Helicopter taking off inside your head. Unit cost $45 million. US dollars.
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No contest. Spend the $20.

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Lamp extra. Um… you need a lamp? OK, here’s one.

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Calliope

(Click on him. He’ll catch your eye. )

Flower Sex

Well, the wild asters are blooming in the ruined grasslands, and the last of the wild bees are coming in, and, I tell you, this is not how humans do the deed.P1810601For one thing, the flower contains both female and male organs. Unlike humans, where attraction leads to physical motion in unison and all good things, the flower just sits there in the wind, waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting. And sometimes it’s a bee who comes, sometimes an ant, and sometimes a fly that just hatched out of a pile of cow poop.P1810603Makes no difference. This is it.

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The sexual stimulation is made by a random third party that lives in the grass.

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And so the grassland stimulates the flower, which then seeds the grassland. Well, if the deer and the birds don’t get to its seed first.

P1810676One left! Yay!

The loving other is not the bee, you see. There is no other. But was there ever? No. This is the signature of Planet Earth. It divides itself so that it can come together, and in the moment of coming together come to life.

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I’m all for that.

 

Temporal Photography … With Cool Insects!

I was reading Prefix, a classy Canadian photo magazine, and there it was: a discussion of photography that wasn’t locked in time, but which presented lengthy images of particular views, rather than ones at 1/125th of a second. Wow, I thought. I could try that! So I lugged the forty-year-old tripod out into the garden, dealt with the legs falling apart and the clamps dislodging and falling apart to little bits of mysterious plastic (one is still not working, sigh) and set it up as best I could, given that it’s now a bit of a cripple, and… well, magic happened. I’m hooked. I love this kind of photography. We could set stuff like this up on a wall, and have it go for hours and hours. We could loop it, and it would go for days. I think it’s endlessly beautiful and fascinating. I’d love to see a gallery full of these things! I’ve put the shortest of my experiments below … see how many insects you can count, from miniature bees to spiders, to wasps and hornets, and other things that zip and hum. I recommend watching this with your sound turned down. There’s a lot of noise on the street, and your hidden gardener trimming his hedge… a bit hopelessly noisy. It’s better without the sound, I think. Have a look.

So, what do you think? A great way to document which insects are hanging around (that wasp was spooky!), or something more than that?