The tag line – Gardening in the Age of Armeggedon – was a tongue in cheek response to the prediction that the world was going to end May 21, 2011, which was shortly before I started this blog. I was writing my way through the end of the world, so to speak – or write. I continued on that vein with the upcoming supposed Mayan prediction that 2012 would mark the end. I thought it was fitting for me to author my way through it, given my almost prescient knack for being at the right place at the right time for witnessing what I deemed turn-of-the-page events from living less than a mile from the birth of the white buffalo in Janesville, Wisconsin in 1994 to standing and watching the first tower fall on September 11, 2001, amid other less significant (but still notable) events such as standing just feet from Geraldo Rivera when he got punched in the face at a Klan/anti-Klan rally to unwittingly (and unknowingly till it was too late) sitting next to the inimitable Steve Buscemi, at the old Knitting Factory (the one in Tribeca) for a good hour one night while waiting for my friends to show. It seems there was one other big one – or maybe it was a little big one – but I’m sure I’ll remember it after I finish this post.
In any event, the whole Armageddon thing was a little wink-wink. — Does anyone else think of “armadillo” when you hear the word “armageddon”? Are we on to something there? — And then I just kept writing. And gardening. And as I wrote and gardened, I naturally found myself paying closer attention to weather patterns and changes and consistencies in patterns. I noticed last year, for example, that I got black soldier flies in my compost, but those are rarely seen this far north (Brooklyn). Same with catching a glimpse of a black widow, who, as I found out, was part of a larger migration of the spider to these parts. Other occurrences that might not effect me directly (yet) but that I started paying attention to simply as signs of these times are the invasiveness of certain plant and animal species from kudzu in the south, which I saw spreading like a green relief version of the blob across large swathes of Mississippi when I visited a friend there, to Asian carp in the Great Lakes and the Snakehead fish (not so affectionately known as Frankenfish and Fishzilla) in the northeast. And then there are those damned onions that keep popping up in my front yard. I have done the ritual hacking at them for the year. Oddly (or maybe not, considering the inconsistencies and unpredictabilities these last couple gardening years have borne), even the omnipresent and irascible backyard weed that every year I have had to choke back in regular battles till summer’s end has inexplicably nearly gone into hiding, without explanation or adieu.
All of such stuff may be standard fare of gardeners over the ages. But tonight as I lay in bed listening to the endless rain pound away at my Brooklyn roof and drown my fledgling carrots and beets out back, I thought, nah, probably not. Probably, and more plausibly, this old Mother earth is really starting to feel our weight on her, especially the well-heeled weight of heavy hitters like Monsanto squishing its stiletto into her soggy soils. No one company is to blame for the fact that the rain bothers me tonight more than it does most. But it did flash into my head like a billboard for an upcoming Saturday night fight: Mother Earth v. Monsanto! And the rain pitter-pattered, incessantly, unendingly, while I turned around, took another sip of water, and tried to will my mind away from the oddness of the rain and into a peaceful slumber.
I ended up here instead. But it had been awhile since I’d poked my head in. And time is marching on. It matters that the gardeners of the world (that, as you know, is anyone who digs their fingers in the dirt with the hope to grow something) be noting these patterns, hiccups, and true deviations. Monsanto’s not going to do it for us. At least they’re not going to bring it to our attention if they do.
Meanwhile, I’m back after my longest hiatus yet. And ready and raring to stare out the window till this weather dries so I can get back in the yard and get that rose bush in the ground, and put the jasmine in a container big enough to give her shelter in warmer indoor weather in the brutal months (unlike the one I had two years ago — when I was simply excited to have a jasmine plant and even more thrilled it was a perennial, all the while not realizing I had some role to play too). For now, it’s back to my partner who (alarmingly to me given my partner’s usual eye rolling at dire suggstions) admitted that we really do need to have a more thorough preparedness kit in the house. Not like it’s Armaggeddon or anything – my partner was quick to point out. “The weather’s just been really weird lately.” Yes. It has.