Gardening for the Apocalypse

Jeff is obsessed with peak oil. It's giving him nightmares. I can't blame him. We are running out of resources, the planet is over-populated and most citizens of first-world countries (what's the second world?) have grown accustomed to a life-style that just isn't sustainable. We can do our little parts on personal levels to make it better, recycle, try to rely less on petroleum based products, be greener, etc., but ultimately, the world needs to have a few less babies then the number of people dying each day... I'm just saying.

Since most of the world's issues are beyond our control, the next step would be to prepare for what comes after, to train (and more importantly, train the children) for a life after the collapse. These things always happen in a perfect storm for me. Jeff has been worried for months now, just finished reading Earth Abides for book club, and Book of Eli was on last night as I dozed on the couch.

All this to say that yesterday Jeff and I went down to Bud and Donna's house to help set up Donna's garden. By the time we got there, Lindsay and Donna had done just about all the hard work, leaving a little square for Jeff and I to turn over, weed, crumble up the dirt, pull rocks (and nails) etc. After that, we dug holes and helped Donna plant the cucumbers, squash, beans, lettuce, and tomatoes she had bought earlier. We weren't taking them from seeds, just cute little baby plants that we're hoping the gophers didn't already eat in the night.

Donna was worrying over the pale green little plantlings as though they were children off to their first day at school. But after digging, carefully setting the babies down into the earth, watering (I caught myself tenderly washing the mud and dirt from the delicate little leaves), I have to admit I got caught up in it and am actually a little worried to check in with Donna to see if the plants made it through the night. :(

While I was watering, soaking the plants and the surrounding earth until small streams leaked toward the lower ground, I did fall into a small reverie, remember summer evenings in Middletown, NY. I can't place times or even what I was watering. I simply remember the act, the long shadows and yellow evening light, the arc of water from the hose. I would stare into the misty rainbows I created and felt god-like in my teenage power to give life to the plants. In the periphery, my father would be observing, the smoke from his cigarette mingling with the earthy smell of the damp dirt, cut grass, the water... Back in present day, Redwood City, CA, I started describing the scene to Jeff and he started filling in parts. That guy knows me too well, or I just have been repeating stories way too often at this point.

So hopefully, Donna will have us back to help weed and tend a bit and maybe next year I start a small potted garden as I have no land of my own. Of course, before that, I have to learn to like vegetables more. Though, a step in that direction was a smoothie that Donna made after we finished that was mostly fruits and vegetables (even spinach). It was delicious.

So here's a little hope for our world, a small patch of dirt, some baby plants that will struggle against the gophers, the weird cold weather we're having right now, and a population crowding in from all sides. Fingers crossed.