So… conversation starters? I talk to plants.
For half of the world’s population, this is not at all unusual, commonplace, even. And most of us, I think, secretly harbor some kind of fairy-dust eye-of-newt moist-root instinct, as if we want so badly to believe in what seems too irrational to give any heed to. But the truth is that our instincts are intact, that they are acute, and that we – as sentient beings – can be phytoliterate plant-speakers. Whether just sharing the first dewy words of the morning with the capricious garden violets (see how they wink back at you?) or patiently drinking in the wisdom of the seemingly reticent skunk cabbage in the murky muck of the marsh, most of us palaver with plants in some respect beyond mere utility.
I grew up in the suburbs of California, the suburbs of Florida, the North American dream of mowed grass and domestic myopia. And burst I forth from the bubble of frothy youth into the great big world of … higher education? I took the left fork, cutting school short to put my hands in the earth. And the earth moved! I was an earthquake baby, baptized in the crucible of footloose San Francisco in September of ’89, but this one shook me to my foundations. And up I’ve been growing ever since: leaps and bounds, leeks and borage.
I feel as though soon I may be coming to the end of my time at The Purple Thistle Centre, the youth-collective-run un-school of arts, activism, and, now, ecology, in East Vancouver. Working together, learning mistake by mistake, we carved a flourishing, productive, beautiful oasis of a garden out of the industrial strata. We keep bees, make medicine, harvest our food, and feel the seasons out as one organism. We are restoring a battered garbage-dump of a wetland and growing a food forest straight out of the in-fill of Vancouver’s industrial false creek flats. We are beautiful (and smelly) and we welcome you. And, should you wish to know more about us or come for a visit, check us out: Radicle Beets!
Presently, I find myself about to embark on from Toronto to Halifax on two wheels, alone, to clear my system of past attachments before returning to my homeplace (?) in California, known in America as both the breadbasket and the land of fruits and nuts. Where will this wind blow me? Will I be fermenting, pedaling, anthotyping, wildcrafting, planting seeds, buzzing in the hive heart, or talking with lackadaisical city planners with white hair and dark suits? If it is time for me to leave my community, my projects, my gardens, my lovers, my pollinators, and my home (pleae, both note and excuse the use of possessives here, all things pass), who will care for me? Who will I talk to? Who will share with me their secrets?
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Adam is a permaculturalist, apprentice herbalist, 16mm filmmaker, musician, cyclist, and sweater of the salt of the great ocean. You can find his work, of many formats and persuasions, at http://sunfishmoonlight.wordpress.com