Saturday, May 15, 2010

Planting time

May light.
May life.

This morning I brushed my hair, as I do every morning--on the brush was the usual mix of my hair and Leslie's. We have been together a long time.

When I pull the roots of a live plant, there's is a resilience, a resistance. Dead roots rip like paper.

The hair on our brush feels more like paper these days--gray paper. Science is about what we can know. Getting older is about recognizing what we cannot know.

I planted today, and a wizened robin watched me as I dug holes for tomatoes and basil. The robin feasted on the worms I shoved to the surface. The pale blue eggs in its nest are now insatiable mouths, begging to be fed. The worm dies so the babies may live.

I saw two gulls peck at a freshly dead horseshoe crab today, less than an hour ago. She was huge, perhaps a couple of decades old. She had lain millions of eggs in her lifetime, and now she's dead.

I saw an angler pull up a horseshoe crab today, less than two hours ago. He spoke, I think, Russian, and a little English. His daughter splashed in the bay as he untangled the horseshoe crab in his line.

"OK eat?"
Alas, no--tastes muddy....

I doubt he understood my words, but he knew my tone. I returned the creature to the bay, but not before I showed his daughter it could not hurt me, nor her.

Tonight we will eat the flesh of fluke, caught last year. The last thing it tasted was a killie fish, dying on a hook.

We will eat last year's basil, now pesto, grown in soil fed by the compost.

We keep eating and living and loving, but our hair keeps graying, becoming more brittle, as we wander to our eventual end. All of us. So others may live.

How do you teach biology and remain silent?


John Spencer said...

Our cycle is way different here. Our garden is in full bloom. The corn is high. The tomatoes are getting bigger (still green). The second round of lettuce is just about ready.

doyle said...

Dear John,

My brother lived in Arizona for a bit. While it is a beautifully wild chunk of land, it is, truly, inimical to gardening, at least the sort that requires water.

John Spencer said...

It depends. You'd be shocked how much you can do with very little watering. The key is timing. It rains in the early spring and in the late summer. Plant things just right and there's very little water usage required. You should see our tomatoes and lettuce :)

It's just odd, that's all. You end up growing certain things in weird places and at weird times (herbs under a tree, for example)

The water usage is still an issue for me, though. We live in a desert and are not under the impression that we can use water any time. We don't have much grass and we don't own a pool, so sprinkling a little water in the morning on budding sprouts seems worth it.

As a pretty ecologically-centered guy, would you have a garden if you lived in the desert?

doyle said...

Dear John,

I would have a garden, not because I am ecologically minded, but because I am selfish.

I have an increasingly weird love of plants.