Honey Locust

I haven’t been writing as much this year, and what I do write are light stories about my life on this new farm. Why is that? It’s not that there isn’t plenty of hard hitting stories to convey, rather that there continue to be so many of them.

In my personal ife I am healing. On my micro-farm, I am enjoying learning what this small acreage and small town have to offer. My neighbors, closer than at the old farm, but at a more comfortable distance than in town, are wonderful friendly, helpful folk who like their distance and quiet as much as I do. The critters have been embraced, even my cranky guinea fowl. We share gardening tips and swap stories.

I am happy here.

On-line and out there is a different story. My Facebook page is brimming each morning with more information on GMO’s, pesticides in food, carcinogens in everything from food to toys, set backs in the fight for renewable energy vs fossil fuels, idiocy in foreign policy. Speaking of idiocy – if only my grand-kids could turn on the radio without some vacant DJ going on about the Kardashians or some other non-sense.

Sitting here listening to the happy hum of bumble bees in the locust tree blossoms, the gentle swish of the neighbor’s horse flicking his tail as he munches happily on the new spring pasture, the contented purr (and then raucous announcement) of the chicken laying her egg, it is easier to just imagine all is well.

So much easier to wander the yard, pull a few weeds, clean the car or do the dishes, than to pull together a hard hitting essay on the dangers encroaching on all of our lives. In the distance, the sound of trucks on the highway brings an insistent reminder that there is another world out there.

Thom Hartmann had an interesting perspective on American politics. He said that we need to stop waiting for a messiah. A major part of the discouragement among Progressives is the abysmal failure of the Obama administration in environmental and social justice policy, and of the Democrats in Congress and the Senate to stand up to the corporations and lobbyists. Thom points out that we rely too much on the appearance of a white knight, a cowboy in a white hat riding a white horse, or someone who will die on a cross (either literal by assassination or virtual by loss of career) to bring about the change we need. Meanwhile we are worn out and trod down by wacko wide eyed women spouting nonsense and white men crowing about values while displaying none. The job is much harder. It requires us to come away from our safe havens and demand the change we need.

So much easier to sit back and watch the honey bees flit amongst the Locust blooms

Locust trees are gnarly, tall, skinny somewhat ugly trees. They have a thick rough bark with deep grooves. They are brittle and shed limbs sporting sharp thorns that can pierce a tractor tire. They are tenacious. Cut down a locust tree and it will send up shoots along its roots, refusing to die. And they always look like they are dying or on the road to it. Glance up into any locust and you will see a startling number of dead branches waiting to fall. Their roots put out a natural poison that discourages the growth of competitors.

In some ways they remind me of my neighbors. Tall gaunt wiry men who survive despite their hard smoking hard drinking life, wearing their bristles on the outside fending off the world, until you get to know them and their sweet side blooms in their affection for critters, flowers or the neighbor lady whose water pipes freeze on a cold January night.

We need to be tenacious like those trees. Where we are cut off we need to push up new shoots to fight back. Resilient to the winds, shedding old limbs while protecting our core strengths. And hold up our fragile fragrant blooms to folks, drawing them in to spread the news of the beauty that is still possible.