An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of November 20, 2016
Issued from Rancho Regenesis near Ek Balam ruins 20kms north of Valladolid, Yucat√°n, Mexico

GARDENING IN DYSTOPIA

Dystopia: n. an imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one

Neither up North nor here in Mexico do we have dystopias, but there are signs of a dystopic future. When I work in the garden, the garden seems to have something to say on the matter.

For, how will an average citizen deal with living in a dystopia? If you oppose the dictator, the dictator's thugs will kill you, or you'll go to prison as a risk to national security. If the Earth's biosphere, or the part of it you inhabit, is utterly polluted, the soil eroded away, and most natural things are dead, you can't escape the fact that you're a biological being needing clean water and air, wholesome food and -- for your sanity -- a tree or butterfly here and there.

The garden says, as I work in it while thinking on the matter, that proper first aid for living in a dystopia is... to work in a garden.

The gardener knows how to mix sterile dirt with compost to make rich soil food can grow in. Just seeing healthy plants with sunlight filtering among leaves, flowers and fruits makes the hopeless feel better. The gardener who gardens for a whole season or more is uplifted by seeing the promise of seeds fulfilled with a harvest. In any present or future dystopia where beauty and magnanimity have been extinguished, by working in the garden, beauty and magnanimity can be reclaimed.

Today, already many people live where gardening is out of the question, plus in the Temperate Zone nowadays it's too cold to plant a traditional garden. Still, just having a potted Christmas Cactus or flowering begonia in the house can be cheering, and represent to the depressed and oppressed nothing less than a gesture of defiance against a dystopic future. Even sprouting seeds to produce nourishing, good tasting sprouts can put us in touch with the gardening essence. Our Sprouts Page is at http://www.backyardnature.net/simple/alf-spr.htm

As signs of a dystopic future become ever more apparent, to gather seeds and take up shovel and hoe in the garden is nothing less than to take up arms against those forces gathering now to herd us toward Dystopia.