“The only clear thing is that we humans are the only species with the power to destroy the earth as we know it. The birds have no such power, nor do the insects, nor does any mammal. Yet if we have the capacity to destroy the earth, so, too, do we have the capacity to protect it.” – Dalai Lama
My garden is complete, six different kinds of lettuce, broccoli, tomatoes, cantaloupe, cucumbers, carrots, squash, zucchini and marigolds for a little color and to attract the bees. The soil looks wonderful, brown and moist with material mixed in that I have composted and screened. As I planted, I found juicy, plump earthworms that appeared happy, or at least as happy as earthworms can appear, busy doing the work they were created for.
“The plow is one of the most ancient and most valuable of man’s inventions; but long before he existed, the land was in fact regularly plowed and still continues to be thus plowed by earthworms. It may be doubted whether there are many other animals which have played so important a part in the history of the world, as have these lowly organized creatures.” – Charles Darwin
After dinner last night I pulled an ice-cold Duck Rabbit Stout out of the refrigerator and headed for my garden. It was almost dark so I knew the eight and five-year old next door would be getting ready for bed and wouldn’t be hanging on the fence peppering me with “What are you doing?” a hundred times a minute. I closed the gate to keep the dogs out, got my trash bucket out from under my garden table and sat.
Before me were possibilities. Possibilities of fresh salads, stewed squash, and tomato sandwiches. A lot needs to happen between tomato sandwich and now. I need to pay attention to the weather, too much moisture can be just as problematic as not enough. Weeds will begin rearing their ugly heads soon, competing not only for space but nutrients. And the soil, brown and moist today will battle me throughout the spring and summer to turn hard and compact. If I can keep the earthworms motivated and hungry I should win this battle as I delicately turn the soil on my hands and knees between the plants.
The success of my simple, small garden requires so many variables to align correctly, environmental variables as well as human variables. I am asking a lot of the dirt, the plants and the earthworms. To get my tomato sandwich I need to protect my garden, make smart decisions, be willing to cooperate and accept its limitations. I can’t just take, I have to give as well.
“Dear future generations: Please accept our apologies. We were rolling drunk on petroleum.” – Kurt Vonnegut