Mel and I finished putting up the stakes to support our borlotti beans over the weekend. The beans were starting to look good and had just shot out their windings a few days before. And literally within hours of putting up the stakes, the windings reached over and across to find the stakes and begin their upward journey. It didn’t take days for the plants to sort of grow haphazardly and find themselves climbing the mountain. No. They somehow knew immediately that support was available and that it was time to aim for the stars.
So many things have amazed me since I started growing a lot of food. The resilience of life is definitely one of them. For sure, we have developed different seed strains over the years and they have certain properties that we like and that taste good to us etc. But then there is this fundamental dynamic of all life: Life wants to live.
I’ve planted out all kinds of things over the last several years, sometimes in ideal conditions and sometimes in truly awful conditions. Blistering heat. Relentless wind. Cold spells. Slashing rain. And yes, sometimes what I’ve planted succumbs. But often, the wee broccolis and lettuces and everyone else – they just endure the harsh moments and find ways to surge forward when conditions are favourable. The wisdom, quiet intensity, beauty and deliciousness of the food I grow never ceases to amaze me.
And speaking of other great intelligences, gosh – wouldn’t more human intelligence (and kindness and understanding and decency and compassion and wisdom etc.) be really welcome?
I hadn’t watched any of the January 6 hearings before yesterday. I actually don’t watch any TV/current affairs news of any kind. I do listen to the radio and I do read news/current affairs and I do check the Twitter feeds of various smart people (Maggie Haberman at the New York Times, Greta Thunberg, Masha Gessen at the New Yorker and a handful of others), though I am not on Twitter myself. But I did watch yesterday’s hearings online. Wow.
Maybe the only good thing I can think of out of all the twisted, sordid messes (Donald Trump is somehow always at the top of that list isn’t he?) is that my ability to be surprised and astonished remains somewhat intact, even as the scar tissue around my heart bears careful watching.
If an election were held today in the US would Donald Trump be elected president? Entirely possible. That would be funny of course, if the US – staggered and broken as it is – wasn’t still the world’s most powerful country.
There’s a certain kind of whistling past the graveyard that is required for people who live in countries immediately beside countries that pose a great global menace. So it is for Canadians anyway. At least those of us who don’t love Donald Trump (80% of Conservative Party voters here say they would vote for him if they could).
Has the world always been a dangerous place? Yes. Has it ever been more dangerous than it is now? No, on a broad, planetary scale – no, not ever.
Has the world always been a breathtakingly beautiful, awe inspiring place? Yes. Is it still? Well, yes – despite the efforts of the cruel and ugly who prevail far too often.
Here’s to great intelligence and to us humans showing more of it in more generative ways more often.
The photo is from a few days ago. The borlotti beans beside brassicas and green onions. They make me happy and they all taste great too!