I have been continuing to think on what it might mean to adopt the injunction in Indigenous law that we are all part of one another. Reciprocity surely must follow from this principle. With this thought in mind, I was out in the street planting again. This time, seaberry saltbush. It will grow a bit higher than the ruby saltbush, but it’s doing fine in this suburb so far!
I was listening to the radio earlier in the week and there was a rather lovely story about some of what is happening for Earth Hour on march 28. That’s today, friends. I admit, earth hour strikes me as a rather token intervention. But–all intervention in the matter of the future of the planet is valuable in my view, even if it is small. I especially loved the Global Orchestra for Earth Hour–a global orchestra playing for the planet. I have been wondering in recent weeks what it would be like to think of these times I’m out and about in the neighbourhood as my ‘earth hours’… and then along came the global earth hour!
These little seedlings are so tiny. Yet so much bigger than the seeds they came from. Maybe my efforts can be like that. The seaberry saltbush I planted a few weeks ago are bigger already.
Those planted a year ago are much bigger, even though they are planted in such an unpromising place. I am horrified to discover how close the concrete is to the huge tree here and how close to the surface it runs.
So I went out into the street with seedlings, thinking about reciprocity, and came back with this: burr medic, plastic that has been through the shredder used to create council’s mulch, rubbish, and a rake without any tips left on it. The dumpers have been back.
Somehow that strengthened my resolve, so I went back out with ruby saltbush and planted it in a spot where garden waste is getting dumped and someone has left the roots of dead plants and soil that I imagine was in a pot once. Maybe planting that area out will make the dumpers think again eventually? I hope these tender seedlings will not fall victim to thoughtlessness instead.
I am still thinking about us all being part of one another. As I crawled around under the beloved tree these plants will surround, I tried thinking of that tree as aunty, or grandfather. And offered these little saltbush as protective companions. I have been registering that if I think of earth and plants as relations, I bring thinking about family to my relationship with the plants and earth. How are these relationships like and unlike? What can thinking about a tree as grandmother bring to my thinking about family? I am struck over and again by the lack of genderless terms for relationships in English, and how interesting it is to try out ‘grandmother’ and ‘grandfather’ on a tree.
Does ‘family’ imply a reluctance to abandon the relationship, even if we know this is possible? I have been dogged in my connections to my family and they have been dogged in theirs with me. We have needed doggedness as we have had long periods of disapproval and difficulty. Maybe I need to be dogged in my relationship to the dumpers. And burr medic. And couch grass. And caltrop. Family isn’t all happiness and light, after all. It’s also hard work and persistence and times of aggravation.
Happy earth hour!