Sunday, August 5, 2012

Where Am I Rooted?

Last August's Zinnias on My Dining Table


The Telling That Changes Everything XXIV.
August 5, 2012

“Where are you rooted?’ I ask the zinnias
blown sideways by the last big storm and
now rising sunward.  I want the water 
to go straight to the roots.  Then I ask
myself: where am I rooted?  What is my
primary Reality that feeds and nurtures the
rest of me?  By this time I should know,
whatever storms have blown me sideways.
I’m blooming as the zinnias are.  If my
leaves wither in the hot afternoon, they
recover their firm pliancy in the cool
of the evening.  Exhausted I sleep.  Still
drugged, I rise with the light that wakes
the chicks.  Words restore my balance
and mental acuity.  Bread and tea return
desire.  I dread the labor of picking figs
until I step outside.  Then the hunt begins:
ripe but not too ripe.  The hens get those
the birds poked their beaks into.  The
chicks dash in and grab what the hens
drop until the hens learn to make a 
phalanx and keep the dropped figs
among themselves.  The chicks learn 
new tricks as do their big sisters.  I, too,
learn.  The more I fertilize and water,
the more food--more than I can gather
and preserve.  Weeds flourish, too.
Farmers face one crisis and urgency
after another: the squirrels are stealing
the peaches; a possum is stripping
the pears.  The apple trees are letting
their green fruit fall.  I can’t keep up.
Virginia creeper is climbing to the roof.
With my hands, feet, knees, and pruning
shears, shovel, baskets for fruit, and
plastic bags for the morning fig run, 
I try not to get too far behind.  Farmers
engage daily with the Reality of the
Universe.  It’s a form of war, for food,
for control of what the soil, sun, and 
water sustain. I carve daily the garden
and orchard I want, govern hens, cat, 
and dog; listen to my body and mind: 
am I overdoing it?  Need a break?  More
exercise?  What tasks get today’s time
and labor?  But what waters my soul, 
the being I have turned out to be?  
Everything.  Reality Itself.  The Created 
Order in which I am an active participant.  
My poems and novels.  My daily diary:
I take stock, assess what needs doing
in my writing and teaching lives,
on the farm, in the house, with my friends.
Reality is sun: too much, too little, or
just right.  Reality is rain: flood and drought.
Reality is the Electric Company using
herbicides under the power lines across
the street, poisoning our pollinators and
our water.  Reality is businessmen who
want to frack perfectly good farmland
and ruin its productivity, peacefulness,
and the lives of its farmers.  Reality
is people helping me both when I ask
and before I ask.  Reality is Good and
Evil.  Reality is choices.  What do I
choose today, tomorrow, and every
day as long as I have breath?  I choose
Life.  I choose the normal struggle
to write what my Muse urges and
to harvest and preserve what the farm
produces.  I also choose the extraordinary
struggle, or call it war, for the Good 
to win over the Evil, for the Earth
and its peoples to heal and to flourish;
to meet and work in mutual aid and
not go for each other’s jugulars 
because we are not the same, because
we each have a slightly different view 
of what is Real.  Harm and Healing are
twin sisters.  Which one will we 
choose as our long-term ally?


  1. Beautiful blog, Judy. Much to meditate on and think about. I could picture you working in your garden much as I do each morning and then quitting when the sun gets too hot.

    I always plant zinnias; lots of zinnias because I love their bright colors and they make such wonderful flower arrangements lasting a long time.