P105: Planting Continues . . .

It has taken weeks to get things planted at our community garden. Here is the deal, I for one have had no desire to take it all on myself. I have done martyrdom in my youth and I find it utterly distasteful. When I see someone doing this I try to stay far away and refuse to praise. Whole industries and religious paths are built on this ‘seemingly selfless’ behavior. To me it seems it is a kind of passive aggressive phenomenon.

On the other hand, I know what it feels like to feel passion and excitement. I really like the energy that comes with engagement, that blush of pleasure from simply waking up to a new day. That is the kind of joy that feeds my spirit. I think everyone has something that tickles that essence. I am a great cheerleader for that kind of raison d’ĂȘtre.

I have not hesitated to work alongside any interested neighbor (which has happened half a dozen times). I have written three newsletters, compiled a seed spreadsheet of information, a garden plan, built 2 planters with my son, painted said planters, stolen rocks from public land for planter pots, hauled soil from the gardens to the planters, planted the planters, made labels, mounted labels on bamboo sticks, marked pots with labels bases on plan notes, planted a quarter of the main garden, water all of the plantings and scheduled for this week.

My only point in listing all of this is to record for myself and anyone interested the mountain of minutia attached to a community effort. The part that is difficult to convey is how gratifying it is when a seeming entropic body begins moving. It is thrilling.
  • The tendency for all matter and energy in the universe to evolve toward a state of inert uniformity.
  • Inevitable and steady deterioration of a system or society.

In this case I am not sure if I am not more excited about my own jolt out of stasis or my neighborhood’s ‘inert uniformity’ of life patterns. Over the weekend I read the following quote and I felt it describes the current way of living for Americans. It is a kind of entropy or death.

If the pinnacle of life is a lifestyle centered on the single, private self, the glue is gone. We must bust that sophisticated specter of selfishness which haunts our houses, breeding a shrouded terror we do not want to face.

This was taken from a 2/2002 journal entry by Jules Dervaes of Path to Freedom as he was building his urban homestead with his family. This quote struck me because I know how separate I have sought to live in the past 30 years – half a lifetime. I rebelled against a small town's intrusiveness of my childhood. I felt it was imbued with bigotry and privilege. I loved the big Lebanese family I married into, but rejected the patriarchal tradition.

And, the irony is that I have taken pride in my defiance against the ‘machine’ that would have me be a compliant cog in the wheels. But, lo and behold this is exactly what is required by the ‘machine’ – to be the perfect, distracted consumer simply involved in my own head. Millions of us are no real threat to the powers that be. Unions used to be a force on behalf of workers. Neighborhoods with people interacting on their front stoops were a mini-culture of known preferences and personalities.

I am minutes away from more planting. This will be an ongoing theme this week . . .

Natasha Mayers "Building Bridges" bronze sculpture

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