It Would Be That Kind Of Year

CR Lawn, 2009

Think of our thousands of new customers who, in the face of the Great Recession, and the revealed inadequacies of our food system, decided for the first time in many years, or ever, to plant a garden. Only to be rewarded, at least in New England, with the worst growing season in forty years, cold, wet and climaxed by blight. How ironic for so many to discover that there would be no free lunch, even in the garden. How many of these gardens were abandoned to the rampant weeds?

How frequently are new beginnings difficult!

I remember my first year in Maine in 1973, when after a similarly gorgeous April, the heavens opened and would not shut. In late May I fled to my fifth college reunion, hoping to gain some perspective as to how I could have gone so wrong as to try to homestead in such a God-forsaken swamp! By June’s end it had rained 47 out of 60 days. And yet I persevered through more than 30 good years.

Notwithstanding our poor growing season, the compelling reasons to grow gardens, support local farmers and build self-reliant communities will not go away. Apart from symbolic gestures, we can expect no help from Washington. We must build our own economies. We are too small to fail!

In my youth when I sought advice from the I-Ching, how often was I told that “perseverance furthers.” Goethe’s famous words, “enjoy when you can and endure when you must,” come to mind. May 2010 be a better year for us all.