Monday, June 27, 2005

Summer tomatoes 

I actually had a garden once, back in the day when I was coming up and freelancing and could be out in the sun during the day. I was living in a neighborhood with Portuguese who fermented their own wine, had grape arbors in their back yards, grew their own vegetables.... One day, one of the grandfathers silently beckoned me into his potting shed—he didn't speak English—and showed me his secret: Miracle Gro.

So I determined to be part of the neighborbood and have a garden, and spent many hours in the sun removing rocks, broken glass, auto parts, athletic shoes, rusty nuts and bolts, and other fruits of the good earth from the dirt in my back yard.

Unfortunately, my yard was infested with Japanese bamboo—an invasive perennial that looks like bamboo and can grow fifteen feet tall; one hot afternoon I swear it grew several inches when I turned my back on it for a moment. And soon, shoots of Japanese bamboo began to sprout from my freshly turned soil.

Before I planted anything, I determined to terminate the Japanese bamboo with extreme prejudice. I cut it down; it grew right back. I sprayed it with weedkiller; it put forth new shoots. Where I ripped out one by the roots, two sprouted. When I hacked all its roots into small chunks with a spade, from each chunk a whole new plant shot up.

Finally I decided to go ahead and plant my tomatoes anyhow, and Lo! The tomato plants grew even more rapidly than the Japanese bamboo! And the tomato plants spread out leafy green, and shadowed the ground. Denied sun, the Japanese bamboo shoots grew pale, and thin, and withered, and died.

The tomatoes took over the yard, and in the fall we had a great harvest. There's nothing better than a fresh tomato slice with a little salt and pepper, maybe a slice of mozzarella.

This is a true story. But it's also a parable:

The Japanese bamboo, the "invasive perennial," is the Republicans, and how they operate.

The tomato plants, that put the Japanese bamboo in the shade, and killed it, are the Democratic institutions that we have to grow.

And the harvest is the victory we have to earn.

Il faut cultiver notre jardin.

corrente SBL - New Location
~ Since April 2010 ~

~ Since 2003 ~

The Washington Chestnut
~ current ~

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