Spring

It’s been a while, and it’s been a fuck of a ride. The ride’s not actually over yet, though there’s a very, very good chance that it will be soon. Keep your fingers crossed for us.

This post doesn’t really have a thesis, but I just thought I’d share a few wandering thoughts.


Spring is here and I’m so glad to have finally gotten some pots and planters for our very generous west-facing balcony to grow things in. At current, I actually have more containers than dirt, and more seeds than either of those combined. The barrenness and uncertainty of this past fall and winter hit me hard, and I found myself longing pretty strongly for the cool deserts of home, the thunderstorms and rain squalls and greenery of an arid clime come alive without the sun to beat it back into the dry earth. I put sprouting seeds in jars every few weeks and set them in the window to trick me into thinking that things weren’t as cold and dark as it seemed.

But I have the stirrings of a garden now. It’s not much yet, but it’s mine, and I provided the conditions for green, magical things to come up out of bare soil. The quiet, patient alchemy of plants has never ceased to fill me with wonder, and I might venture to say that after all this, the Mystery of rebirth is all the more meaningful to me.

I have lettuces coming along nicely, which should be ready to start cutting as baby greens in a few more weeks. Alongside them are beets, which I also plan to harvest well before the roots become too formidable a vegetable on their own – I cherish the greens quite a bit more. I have stevia, indigo, and rosemary coming slowly, carefully along (easy now, keep them warm), which I’m excited for as both a burgeoning natural dyer and sugar-free cook. Cucumbers, nasturtiums, onions, and strawberries are also in varying stages of germination or growing, though the strawberries were a clearance item and have been looking pretty ragged for a few months now. I don’t expect them to make it. That’s alright, there’s always next year.

The rest of the house is slowly filling up with plants, bit by bit, as often as our tight wallets can spare a few dollars. A cactus here, a rubber tree sapling there, a pothos that keeps on generously donating cuttings to other corners of the apartment, an aloe, a mystery succulent.

The only one that doesn’t seem happy is our 3-year old fig sapling, which hasn’t come out of dormancy yet. I hope he does, he was the first plant my husband and I bought together. We even named him! (Or wait… was it the avocado tree who was “Frank”?)

He’s still green, though, if you scrape away the tiniest bit of bark. Maybe it’s not warm enough for him, or maybe he doesn’t want to wake up until my husband is in remission and things go back to the way they were before everything went to pot. I know I wouldn’t want to either.


 

I work in a small co-op grocery store now. Very small, about a dozen employees. We’re unionized. It’s relatively easy work (except when it’s exhausting), but I finally understand why people hate unions.

They protect us, sure, but like any other protection racket, it comes at a steep cost. The rigidity is stifling, change is feared, innovation is punished, and merit has no meaning. John Michael Greer is quite fond of saying that the opposite of one bad idea is usually another bad idea, and I have to agree with him in our case. What unions do better than anything else, though, is reward the stubborn. Avoid getting fired for long enough, and you will inevitably find yourself at the top of the pecking order. It’s a socialist version of the Peter Principle. If this is the best workers can come up with in the fight against runaway capitalism, then capitalism deserves to win.


 

Today I learned a trick to get me to eat when nothing sounds appetizing: serve myself on my nicest, prettiest dish. Food in magazines always look like the most delicious things in the world, even though half of it probably tastes no better than Lean Cuisine. If they can fool me into salivating over Lean Cuisine, I can too.