April 20, 2008

Why Bother?

This isn't the best thing that I've ever read by Michael Pollan but it is, I think, rightly reasoned on a number of levels and applicable to more than just the topic at hand.

But there are sweeter reasons to plant that garden, to bother. At least in this one corner of your yard and life, you will have begun to heal the split between what you think and what you do, to commingle your identities as consumer and producer and citizen. Chances are, your garden will re-engage you with your neighbors, for you will have produce to give away and the need to borrow their tools. You will have reduced the power of the cheap-energy mind by personally overcoming its most debilitating weakness: its helplessness and the fact that it can’t do much of anything that doesn’t involve division or subtraction. The garden’s season-long transit from seed to ripe fruit — will you get a load of that zucchini?! — suggests that the operations of addition and multiplication still obtain, that the abundance of nature is not exhausted. The single greatest lesson the garden teaches is that our relationship to the planet need not be zero-sum, and that as long as the sun still shines and people still can plan and plant, think and do, we can, if we bother to try, find ways to provide for ourselves without diminishing the world.
I'm curious as to what effect Pollan's interactions with people like Wendell Berry, whom he draws upon heavily in this article, and Joel Salatin has had on his faith or lack thereof.  

1 comment:

a conversationalist said...

Or, you are like me and have annoyed your acquaintances so much with talk of your beautiful plot in the back yard that they would just as well seed your ground with salt as they would hear one more story about how beautiful your tomatoes are....

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