I spent Tuesday and Wednesday making love to my yard, turning soil, building soil, planting seed. It was such a relief, knowing that the city is not going to condemn my house, and remove me from it with the police. The sun came out Tuesday morning after a long absence, and stayed out for two glorious days. I wore my iPod much of the time, singing softly to the soil as I worked, listening to the birds calling when I put the music away, sometimes answering, occasionally a call and response. Resting the afternoon of the second day, a native bee landed on my hand and groomed itself, each of its myriad hairs ridged and glistening gold; attending to the minute particulars, as Blake suggested.
As I worked I contemplated the bizarre divide separating our country, fear driving both sides further apart. Consider this quote from one of our more radically ideological politicians, Alan West, House Representative from Florida:
"The Liberal Progressive agenda is nothing more than a dishonest tyranny trying to reduce our citizens into subservient subjects of the bureaucratic nanny state."
Now lets adjust this quote a little bit:
"The Conservative Free Market agenda is nothing more than a dishonest tyranny trying to reduce our citizens into subservient subjects of Wall Street and Corporations."
Sound familiar? The fact is, both are true. If liberals had their way, we could hardly make a decision about anything important, without first asking permission from half-a-dozen government agents, who would then tell you exactly what you have no choice but to do, and exactly how to do it. If Conservatives had their way, they'd be building oil and gas derricks and 20,000+ sq/ft mansions in Yellowstone, the rich would pay no taxes and the world would be twice as polluted as it is. Either one in control and you might have to sell your soul to breath the air and drink the water. Tyranny, one way or the other.
Meanwhile, the country is about evenly divided, with a well balanced tyranny of expanding government and unaccountable corporate and financial elite. The result being, the country's finances are near collapse, and both sides are wailing at each other impotently, neither side willing to admit both sides are at fault. Each side asking the other to make all the sacrifice, and neither willing to make any. And almost no one questioning the whole idea of what America has become, which is an Empire feeding off the resources of much of the planet to maintain a standard of living that has no future.
My recommendation? I say we cut virtually all government spending but for the youngest and the oldest, and raise taxes on the richest, and then raise them a little more. Pay off the debt, and stop borrowing money. Reign in banks, outlaw insurance, and restore the right of the people to revoke corporate charters. Once revoked, make the leadership personally clean up whatever mess that resulted in the closing of the company. Redistribute land currently in service to industrial agriculture in X00 acre plots to families willing to steward the land bio-intensively.* Re-plot the cities and rebuild the buildings to take full advantage of solar heat. Rebuild America, until we no longer need fossil fuels. Remove our troops from every foreign outpost, and disband the military. Declare the harming of a child, a woman, or an elder to be a capital offense. Let women in community be the final arbiters of progress and justice. Recover the understanding that we are of the Earth.
It is inevitable anyway, likely. Though I'm not sure Americans have either the courage or the fortitude or the fore-sight to make it so, without going through a long, ugly process of collapse. We are so well trained as consumers, without regard for how the things we consume are created, or secured, or transported. We are so well blinded by ideology, many can't see the world in any way but through that poison.
There is a notion that if we consume less, we will all have to live like apes. I consider this idea deeply condescending, and also fundamentally clueless. As if by using less we will suddenly forget how to do anything, as if we will stop building, stop creating. Some might, but I won't. Being a nation of victims, of one ideology or another, most of us might, when it dawns on us that everything we have believed about the inevitability of Progress is proved to be false, when the Market we have believed to be infallible collapses, because the fuel required is no longer available in the abundance required, to allow it to flow as smoothly as it has. How many will go on blaming one villain or another, right up until the moment they die of starvation - not because of the action of any villain, but because they never gave a moment's thought to where their food comes from, abandoning the future to magical thinking, like the whole issue of limited resources will suddenly be resolved just in the nick of time, by someone, somewhere, doing something?
More and more I hear talk about the end. We know it's coming. Instead of thinking about it constructively, mostly I hear people absolve responsibility, believing in the return of a Messiah, in Divine intervention of some kind, in savior aliens, in the miracle of Technology, in Science, in the status quo - in short, in anything but taking responsibly for my own life, in relation to the Earth.
Maybe there will be an intervention. When I go to that place, I imagine Dec 12, 2012, the center of the galaxy sending out a pulse, that pulse amplified passing through the sun, this immense energy enveloping the Earth, and every human on Earth in that moment uttering a collective giggle - and suddenly ALL is revealed. I don't believe the world will end even then, should that happen. Which is why I conspire to plant fruit trees. Which is why I continue to cultivate my love affair with the Earth. I'm a naive and somewhat self-conscious lover that way, but I grow more open and more energetic, the more I listen, the more I feel.
These corporations, the banks, the Fed and this Government are all necessary to each other, and they are now in their fullest expression. The population shows no sign of awareness of it's role in the biosphere, increasing the number and distribution of poisons, draining the aquifers, melting the glaciers and ice caps. Unrelenting in our drive toward affluence, it's hard to imagine anything but the continued and increasing rush toward ecological oblivion.
I think what we will find is what we have always found to be true, which is friends and family and community. And maybe more, if we are open to it. I'm certainly finding that this existence is a good deal more mysterious than I have been lead to believe. The Earth has a great many secrets the powers-that-be would rather we not be aware of.
Friday, more loving my yard, and then a boat race with my sister, her partner and my niece and nephew, on Minnehaha creek. We each make a boat (except my nephew who is four months and just about ready to crawl), the materials limited to a health care catalog and painters tape. Whose boat floats the farthest, wins. I'm building mine remnant of a design preceding the Pharaohs, with global reach(the original, not my paper Health Care manual.) Saturday, I'm meeting my Mother. She's attending a gathering in Bloomington, of the members of the Republic. They believe that the Federal Government has been operating outside the Constitution, as a Corporation, since at least 1871; making them, ostensibly, the true Americans. Saturday evening and Sunday I'm helping a reader demo an apartment he and his wife own, for cash. A great blessing to me, and fun probably.
Basically what I'm saying is, with all the fear in the world, I choose love. (Which, if I'm honest about that, may be the scariest thing of all.)
* Joel Salatin's Polyface farm is a supreme example of farming as it should be. He's also fun. www.polyfacefarms.com