01 August 2011

Time For Another Episode...

of The Lazy Gardener!

Dear Reader,

Things are growing well in my goofy garden. Not because I am so attentive, as you well know. I visit my patch only now and then, because it has been quite reliably hot this summer. And guess what? That seems to be the new normal.

( Though conservative pols say it ain't so, it's officially warmer now. Yes, our own West Michigan Weather Service has revised normal temps upward. Not based on biased vice presidential opinion though, but on local facts. The whole climate change thing reminds me of a story about a state legislature that officially made 'pi' 3.14. I suppose the lesson of King Canute must be learned over and over.)

Anyway, my neighbors are away for the weekend, and they asked us to water their flowers and vegetables, and to help ourselves as well. Which I did a little while ago.

I am humbled. Their beets have leaves like palm fronds, as does their chard. Good thing I don't like them, but still it is impressive. They have two varieties of basil that are all but quivering with growth - glossy green and black/purple leaves. Tomatoes are growing above the 6 foot tall cages so that they loomed over me. While down below the broccoli and squash spread in fat abandon.

I thought of my little yard, identical to theirs in size, and how we have one determined basil, some half-hearted peas, a sprawly lazy tomato that refuses to climb the trellis I set out. You can tell I am jealous.

What is it about us that we so readily compare and compete? Of course, they would have a better garden. They work at it more. (And they use plant food which we don't)

If I had beets I wouldn't eat them anyway, and what little we have is plenty for us in our whirlwind life of pressing indolence. But even so I felt the twinge of competition.

I know that in the purity of a free market defined world everything is a market and everything is competitive. But I just don't like it. It reminds me of a friend our elder son had 20 years ago when they were little boys. He made everything a competition, even boasting that his bowl of chicken noodle soup had more noodles and that he could eat his faster.

Who said that if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail? Fundamentalisms of all kinds tell us everything can be reduced to one thing - Bible, Constitution, Markets, Oppression, Sex. Even if one of them is right, which seems very unlikely, it would make for a very unhappy life I think.

Kind of like a vegetable garden that only had beets.

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