Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Raised Bed Chronicles - Part II

It's bigger! It's better! It took 15 bags of soil to fill it up and I'm starting to think this project has become slightly ridiculous in its grandiosity, but there's no turning back. Two little green pepper plants await their spots, and the carrots will go in next. And I'm trying to make this vegetable bed as organic as possible. Thank you, Thomas Supply (for concrete blocks) and Home Depot (for soil and seeds). I haven't even got the growing started yet -- the photo is from this morning, and lugging in the dirt was today's project -- and I'm already realizing that concrete block is going to absorb more water and not hold it in the soil as well as wood would have. I may line it with stone after this year's crop is done with, finances willing.

Long long ago, I copied this Once and Future King quote from a brochure that promoted a library reading campaign (You can click it, for a readable enlargement). It moved from bulletin board to bulletin board with me and then, when wall space was limited, to a file folder labeled "bulletin board type stuff," which I've just perused.

I have very little to be sad about. Everyone and everything is doing OK. My tendency toward melancholy is mostly brain chemistry, and mild at that, and what triggers it lately is more a matter of seeing "the world about [me] devastated by lunatics." But that's a big one. The lunatics are attacking on so many fronts.

On ronniecat's recommendation, I'm in the middle of reading Three Cups of Tea, and finding it very soul-lifting. The fact that it's won prizes and sold so well bodes well for many of the things it has to say; one of which is that fundamentalist, violent Islam is not all of Islam. The people of these villages embrace a Western stranger, and support education. For their daughters. For all their children, for everyone's future. Their ranking Muslim cleric supports the effort.

As I read it, i think, Good! the more understanding this book and this project brings to people who equate Islam with violence and oppression, the better.

Then I wonder, Why can't such an understanding of Christianity come about??

Why is only the fundamentalist brand, the brand that calls for the beliefs of fundamentalist denominations to be imposed on all, why is this the very definition of "Christianity" in the minds of so many people? Not just simpleminded, lazy, or mediocre intellects, but highly intelligent people?

In part, it has to be because we've let the narrow version of the faith co-opt the word. Those of us who honestly believe that the message of Christianity is one of love, not sweet sentimental gooey luv, but healing, feeding, building-for, lifegiving love, a message of offering, never forcing .... we've been too quiet. We've let it become synonymous with a politics that seeks to force the tenets of particular denominations on the most personal aspects of every person's life and heart.

It's something to work on.

All of which leads back to the garden. Learning really is a terrific therapy for being sad, but I'd add one. Another good thing for being sad is to build something.


Sherwood Harrington said...

...this project has become slightly ridiculous in its grandiosity...Oh, good heavens, Ruth, you're noplace close to grandiose as far as raised beds go. You want grandiose raised beds? I've got your grandiose raised beds right here.

And, for what it's worth, I completely agree with your latter paragraphs.

ronnie said...

Oh, I am SO HAPPY you're reading Three Cups of Tea. It really is soul-lifting. (I cried when I saw the photo of the men carrying the beams on their backs up the pass after it was blocked to vehicles, smiling shyly at the camera with their daughters' futures literally on their shoulders.)