Wednesday morning I finished the planting. There will be more planting, expanding of the gardens, and infrastructure to build, but the bulk of the planting is done. As a capstone, I planted datura seed in four different places, in the wildflower bed along the north fence, and on the sliding hill next to the sun room and the pond. The packet says 21-42 days before germination, so I don't necessarily expect to see mature plants this year, if any; and even if I do, I don't expect to experiment with the plant for its psychoactive gifts, as datura is not a plant to be trifled with. One should expect to have a great many plant allies, and at least two faithful human guides, to be asking help from the spirit of datura.
I've also planted 36 Ololiuqui seeds, Turbina corymbosa, a vine with psychoactive gifts, and about two thousand Nicotiana sylvestris and Nicotiana rustica, two South American tobacco plants sacred to shaman. None are showing any signs of germinating, but about a dozen little sprouts of sylvestris in two single-serving yogurt cups, and compared to most of the other plants around them, these seem reluctant. While I consider cannabis to be an ally, three of the last four times I've smoked a cigarette, sober or drunk, American Spirit or chemically sodden Phillip Morris, I've vomited. When you begin to think of some plants as potential allies, you find that they are likely to test you, and that is not likely to be pleasant. And if they give, they seem to give most to those who are honest, which is a thing that can't be faked to a plant.
There is also a perfectly rational explanation, why all my seedlings are struggling, not just the shamanic plants but the vegetables also. Right now, the surface of my garden beds is an inhospitable place. Even the uber-prolific Chenopodium species, the red* and the green Lambs Quarter, are having a hard time getting started, though outside the beds they're doing fine; I'm eating more of that than anything else in my yard right now. The soil is carbon rich, and hummus and nitrogen deficient. I've planted red clover, which I'll cut periodically to help alleviate the nitrogen deficiency, but even they are having a hard time in these harsh conditions. It was only last year that it was sod, in most places. The top inch dries out quick (I probably should have spread what compost I had, even though it wasn't ready). It's also been a cool and gray month, on the whole.
Which has lead to a peculiar state of mind for me, as I found myself raging around the house looking for a glove that turned out to have been resting on the back step for who knows how long; perhaps the blooming golden alexander emerging from a crack at the base of the steps, the most attractive in my yard, knows? There is chaos in my life, though considerable order and a greater balance, progress, and yet it is difficult for me sometimes to remember, what is the point? I feel like I'm doing what I feel called to do. I'm writing books. I maintain a blog. I garden. But I'm alone as I've always been, and my house is still a mess, and there's no money to do the things I know I can do to the house - and no one fucking cares, I hear myself repeating.
Am I depressed? That's not the word for what I am. A curious idea, the sane asking the insane what it means to be Homo sapien sapien on planet Earth. At least five billion people on this planet not having any idea what that really means; and the other two billion aren't the ones excelling in this current hyper-active state of epic super-madness. Here's a great idea: increase demand until you've exhausted supply globally, while covering most of the planet with armament, and pollute everything in sight. That we are not helping each other prepare for resource constraints is not the craziest thing there ever was, but it's surely one of the saddest.
After finding the glove where it's long been, I stood for a long time listening to the radio. Manufacturing, slowing. Housing, slowing. Hiring, slowing. Bleak. The weather is still cool, everything preferring warm weather struggling, but there's heat on the way. There's also flooding, mid-Missouri river in the Dakotas, after the southern Mississippi river States already flooded so badly, well downstream. E-coli. Higher food prices. Energy shortages in China, forecast through the summer. The Minneapolis housing market is considered by some to be the worst in the nation.
But then a recording of Tim Flannery at the Commonwealth Club, speaking a Gaian tongue, reminding us that there are thousands of species living on us, in us, that we can not live without, that we require to be healthy; that the true state of existence is not competition, but co-existence. That we as a species have become like a super-organism, that we could act if we awaken to our role in the biosphere, like a consciousness for the Earth, a "true global intelligence."
The glove I so raged about was for a bike ride, a gathering-scouting trip, and possibly the gathering of mullein and nettles - Mullein for the smoke, nettles for dried greens, for tea and soup or stew - though I'm sure I can pick nettles without a glove, without getting stung, much. And then, as I walked out of the house ready to ride, I locked myself out without my keys. I checked all my pockets and then the pack, and then the windows which I'm generally good about latching - though I found one window unlatched, behind a locked storm window.
Trying to laugh at myself but not really being able to, I went scouting; but the Minnesota river as it passed through Fort Snelling State Park, still flooding, smelled bad, and there was a foul red affluent flowing out of a culvert into Snelling Lake, from the airport. I would have liked to continue on, to the National Wildlife Refuge, but the way is blocked by airport land, and more culverts; which in the spring, drain millions of gallons of plane de-icer, that has been contained in anaerobic holding ponds all winter, which smells like eggs and onions in a cooler in the garage in the summer. Though the woods, I do have to say looked lovely, a perfectly uncrowded spring balance of order and chaos, and I saw several species I'll be returning to for seed, for the boulevard under the maple.
On National Park land where the Bureau of Mines used to be, at Coldwater spring, I saw an exuberant crowd of inner-city kids, having fun planting wildflowers and grasses, with a ranger wearing a big stiff ranger hat, right in the little cul-de-sac where last spring I planted a female and male Cannabis sativa. Someone removed the female and her root ball shortly after, and I never went back for the male. Though because my government finds it convenient to infringe on my sovereign rights as a human being, and I can't grow my own at home, which I am both skilled enough and naturally inclined to do, I've been smoking lately the flowers of the three males I planted on a ledge overlooking the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers last spring, in St Paul.
I got home and used a knife and a scissors to unscrew the storm window covering the window that wasn't latched. I climbed through the open window onto the desk I used this winter to write much of my second book, the desk now piled with office clutter. And there were my keys, on the desk in front of my face. I must have set them there while I stood listening to the radio. It is hard to imagine how long that window latch has been open. I don't often open that window. Nor do I generally set the keys on that desk.
Sam Harris finds that we are only matter, but he nor anyone has any explanation really for the mystery of consciousness. What was going on in me that caused me to set those keys there in front of the only window that was unlatched and then lock myself out, at a time when I am deeply engaged in a bleak outlook for our species, and a bleak outlook for myself, and a bleak desire to divest myself of any and all responsibility to anything?
I biked across the city then, to meet with the partners, to go over what we've ordered for merchandise for the Halloween store. The three of us are considerably more organized than the two of them were, at this time last year. I reminded them about electrical shortages in China. Delivery sooner rather than later.
Thursday morning I woke to an erotic dream about Val Kyrie, the woman I once left this house for. To say it was a pleasant dream would not be accurate at all. The image of her was as close to a goddess as I have seen in any dream any time recently, an image in the dark aspect, full of mockery. It was unusual, not only for the character of the dream, but for the fact that my erotic dreams come about as often as some comets. I realized then that it was the anniversary of my return to this house, from my time with Val Kyrie and her family. I looked out the window, and saw the first spring sight of my favorite blue flag iris.
A year later, and there is more order in my life, and in some ways I am stronger than I have ever been. But there is also abundant chaos. There is very little money. I have not published a book. My father is still paying the mortgage on this house and while there is potential work, nothing is certain. And there is little guidance. I am left to interpret signs, to find meaning where I can, how I can. It is a curious life, this. A mystery.
* The Chenopodium spc. that is red was billed by the seed company as a traditional Hopi spinach. It is basically a burgundy Lamb's Quarter, of which there are now about a hundred-thousand little burgundy seedlings scattered around the yard. They are actually quite attractive, and Lamb's Quarter is one of the most healthy and tasty greens available, so I'm letting them be, mostly.