Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The View From My Bed

April 20, 4/20, international pot day, or something like that. I moved my vegetable starts from the kitchen to the bedroom, as the bedroom is the only portion of the house heated, at the moment (notice the electric oil heater). I didn't think much about it, when the guy from CenterPoint Energy came to shut off the gas. It was about 65 degrees outside at the time. The snow has already melted, though the temp won't climb much above forty-five degrees today.

Mostly what you see are tomato and peppers. There are eggplant, various brassica, hollyhock, heavenly blue morning glory, moon flower and cardinal vine, and Nicotiana sylvestris, a South American tobacco plant with an extraordinary scent in the evenings and at night. The latter don't seem to want to germinate, though. I haven't really been able to recreate jungle like conditions (the white-boy that I am without a real greenhouse). The Cannabis seeds didn't take either. I'm not surprised; twelve seeds from a plant I grew in my yard last year, right outside that window, which I can only imagine was an unsuccessful attempt by that female plant to pollinate itself.

When I took the pictures this morning I was listening to public radio. Apparently, a significant number of Americans are against raising the national debt limit, something like 70%. Clearly, Obama's debt speech didn't carry; his numbers are down. Even as everywhere there is news that American corporations are continuing to hire more in other nations than they are here in America, even as the people who lead those corporations are calling for greater tax cuts. Obama essentially called for a shared sacrifice, but America didn't really hear it. It seems we have come to a watershed moment.

Not raising the debt ceiling, by all accounts, is a kind of financial apocalypse. Norm Ornstein, comparing shutting down the government to a "really bad stomach ache," called breaching the debt ceiling "a heart attack." Which can be survived, obviously, but not something you want to court, necessarily. Plenty do, but it doesn't seem like good national policy. Throwing the international bond market into upheaval, on the heels of the deepest recession in eighty years, doesn't seem like a great idea to me, but ok. I think we don't really have any conception of how bad it could get, so far removed so many of us are from hunger, from real need, but alright.

I think our desire not to raise the debt ceiling, at the same time we want to pay less taxes, wanting not to cut any of the major government programs, is grounded in naivete', stemming from our hyper-individuality, and our conception of household finances compared to that required to maintain civilization. It seems like a good idea to refuse to extend the ability of Government to spend more money than it currently spends, until one gets into the consequences, which will certainly not entail job creators creating jobs. More likely it will mean less jobs all-around, as a fortressing affect begins to take place around CEOs and their interests. There's hardly any conception of the greater good left, evident in the momentum across the nation to roll back environmental protections, in the lack of much of any conversation about what kind of country we would like to have, what kind of people we would like to be.

It seems like a better plan, to raise the debt ceiling, and then give ourselves a time-line to resolve our spending and tax issues. I highly doubt we are going to resolve the issue by mid-May. Or, we can not raise the ceiling, default, and then commence to blaming each other, as the global economy goes into free fall. Maybe that's what we need? It's not like the way we live is sustainable. Maybe it's time for collapse? Maybe it's time for us to question everything we believe? The world is currently ruled by men who believe in a God who sanctions violence, or in a neo-darwinian social order that justifies whatever they do, or in both. We don't seem to be questioning the market ethic that allows us to pollute recklessly, to destroy the ecological balance on which everything depends. We seem only to care about maintaining whatever standard of living we have grown accustomed to, without any disruption in whatever social progress we have come to expect. Which is understandable, but not recommended.

I've long known the global economy would collapse in my lifetime. I've even longed for it. Now that we seem to be on the cusp, I'm not so sure. Part of me thinks, "Hell, bring it on," the part of me that knows I'll be fine whatever happens. Mostly, I'm thinking about the children I know, and their families. Some of whom the vegetables in those trays are destined for. All of whom I care about very much.

In the short term I hope it warms up. I'm happy to have the company in my bedroom, but as vibrant and beautiful as these heirloom tomatoes are, they're tomatoes.


CE said...

Hey! Just want to let you know I'm a MPLS resident, too, interested in local food. I found your blog via The Archdruid Report.

Jeff Z said...

I tripped across your blog while looking through the comments on the Archdruid report. It's not often I end up going through multiple posts without looking up. You're doing some interesting stuff- hope you can keep it going!

I am blogging in a similar vein- in St. Paul. I started ripping up my backyard not long after we bought the house and have expanded every year since. We garden organically- and I'm fascinated by biodynamics, though permaculture is the narrative that I tend to plant by these days, even though I've never bothered to go through the official permaculture courses or anything like that.

Hope you don't mind if I post a link to your blog. I don't have many readers myself, but I think anyone who enjoys reading what I write would enjoy reading you too.

William Hunter Duncan said...

Thanks for checking in, CE and JeffZ . I'm a faithful reader of The Archdruid Report as well. I haven't taken any gardening classes either. I read or hear about a thing, and then I learn by doing. Post away, JeffZ. Thanks again.