Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Runners in the Strawberries

I spent several hours yanking runners out of the strawberries. They've webbed their way into the asparagus as well, and the patch of pussy toes in one of my wildflower beds. Quack grass, Agropyron repens, a "sudden field of fire".

Runners are rhizomes, long tendrils of root that run laterally through the first few inches of soil, from which shoots arise and roots burrow outward. They create a thick web of roots that choke out other plants. If I don't pull these quack grass runners out, I won't have strawberries or pussy-toe flowers next year, maybe less asparagus.

The Minnesota Extension Service says I can use Ortho Fluazifop Grass-B-Gone in the asparagus. Oh, but wait, not if I actually want to eat the asparagus any time in the next twelve months. I could use Monsanto's glyphosate, Roundup. Many people do. I can't. I have seen video of Monsanto lawyers threatening to destroy the livelihood of an old man who helps farmers separate seed from chaff for next year's planting, because he was in violation of Monsanto's government sanctioned, biologically re-enforced monopoly on soybean production. Monsanto likes to say it is feeding the world. In reality, it is practicing a form of global enslavement, perpetuating rampant population growth, which is the perpetuation of Markets.

My soil is soft enough that I can dig with my hands. Burrowing my fingers several inches deep, I clench my fist and pull out a birds nest worth of white rhizomes. It's easy to think of this non-native, invasive, relentless plant as having malevolent qualities. It's a plant, and while I know it has a kind consciousness, it is not intent on taking over the world. It simply finds itself in a foreign land, a land absent whatever insects, bacteria, plants or animals that moderated its growth in Europe. Here, every single plant is capable of sending out 300 ft of rhizome more-or-less unimpeded, every inch sending up a new blade of grass.

I don't use poisons, I dig the rhizomes out with my hands, which works just as well. It's hard work, but so is rooting out the rhizomes of culture that web their way through body and mind, choking off the free flow of spirit. That's what this is, really, this digging out of quack grass rhizomes, a healing of the soil, which is healing me. That's not our way, in this culture, the pharmaceutical companies, siblings to Monsanto, with their poisons for people, bio-engineering another form of enslavement.

It is very lucrative. Doctors write approximately 110,000,000 prescriptions for anti-depressants every year, and I don't think that's counting prescriptions for children. Homo sapien sapien feeling disconnected, not knowing why, accepting the only answer they've been given: here, take this pill. Who says, "You are of the Earth, in the Earth you will find healing"? It is not in the economic self-interest of doctors, pharmaceutical executives, religious intermediaries or empirical apologists to tell you that health can be found in realigning oneself with the rhythms of the Earth. They, of course, are just as unhealthy and disconnected as the rest of us. We are all a long way removed from Home.

Now the strawberries are free of rhizomes, the soil sufficiently mulched with leaves and wood chips I've gathered from the city's free piles. I should have an excellent crop next year, more than I can eat fresh. Strawberry preserves are a fine thing.

Assuming the strawberries are still mine to gather. Only one of my potential book investors has offered to purchase a share; a half-share, actually. The feedback is positive, mostly, though the book has made everyone uncomfortable. As a writer it is my job to ask the questions few others want to ask, and offer answers. Of course, who wants answers to a questions they don't want to ask?

What are we going to do as fossil fuel availability declines? I know what we can do. I know what will happen if we continue to sleepwalk our way into that decline. Most folks seem content to act as if technology will magically save us. It won't.

As the book is concerned, my intention now is to bring two of my Sacred Theatre dances to the Riverview Cafe open mic, Thursday evening. Video will add another layer to the business plan and manuscript. Maybe with the video I'll be able to convince someone to help me make a digital version of the book, for a financial stake in the lifetime of the book. A hard-cover book is not an option at this point. A digital version would at least have the potential to start generating capital, so I can keep the strawberries, and the house.

Maybe the dancing will actually convince some folks to read this blog. We'll see how many want to continue reading, after they see what I have to say. So far, that seems to amount to no one. Maybe I'm deluding myself that what I have to say matters. Well, it matters to me. Readers or not, I will continue writing. There is so much more to say. I mean to tear down the whole of this brutal Empire, the righteous fundamentalism that is Market economics and the social hierarchy it maintains, the sycophantic worship of technological progress and the belief that because men rule, the Universe was created by a male, almighty God who expects subservience, sanctions violence, and rewards with plunder; and replace it with a reverence for the Earth and all its creatures, with the recognition that all the Universe is Divine, that we reside in the Garden, that Heaven is all around us.

I have said it before and I will continue to say it: You are a unique, astonishing and utterly beautiful manifestation of the spirit. A Divine Being. A child of the Earth. Homo sapien sapien. Sacred.

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