Mother and Daughter Reunion in the Garden

Some gardens are wild, and grow wherever they want, like this nightshade.

Some need lots of prep, and then grow, if they want, like this nightshade.

Welcome to my new garden, Potato!

It won’t be long now!

Mom will take longer.

And she’ll kill you, the dear. Stick with the kids!

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.
apple

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.)

p1010439

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?

p1080665

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

p1600732

$20.

P1810242That’s a big bag of seed.

P1810232

$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.
P1810528

No contest. Spend the $20.

linen

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

P1820090

Calliope

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