"She refused to be bored, chiefly because she wasn't boring." Zelda Fitzgerald

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Consciousness and Vegetable Death

The tomato vines have fallen on their faces, sprawling out of the beds and making their gangling way onto the cement patio, as if they were reaching for the back door of our home. Frost will not come here so watching the hot weather crops time themselves out is a totally new process for me. Its a gruesome spectator sport. There's no sudden icy morning to put them out of their misery so instead things go on blossoming at one end and turning slowly brown at the other, growing more and more thin and leggy, finally flopping in exhausted, ridiculous length like the cosmos that just fell over after growing taller than our garage, the neck of each new bloom absurdly lengthened like some overdone body shaping competition. The squash continued fruiting manically while also deteriorating into the most impressive mass of powdery mildew I have ever seen. Its a strange new way to switch growing modes. The swiss chard produced so heavily that I honestly lost sight of ever keeping up with eating it. Everyone received bouquets of big crinkled leaves and sunrise colored stalks but it kept coming and coming....finally I all but abandoned it ("Swiss chard boys?" *crickets*) and such a horde of aphids descended that it looked like black mold, growing all over each stalk and eventually creeping up and covering the leaves. I ended up sawing them all off at the ground to be humane. Its so different to grow here.

 I have grown plants my whole life and yet, BAM.....new biome and I feel totally new, floundering and astonished. A asks me all the time "What's that tree? What do you think that flower is?" and mostly my answers are just a lot of, "I have no idea." Its intimidating if I allow it to suck the air out of the room for a second...but if I just reach for my curiosity and desire to never be jaded and love of learning and excitement then suddenly its means something good. I keep trying to figure out the next thing, be grateful for the questions and stumped moments that keep me scratching my head and practice letting go of my anxiety, my need to be right, my choking expertism and my soul killing perfectionism.

One of the things that's so helpful about newness is that it forces actual conscious experience. So much of what we "know" isn't even actually absorbed or seen or focused on....let alone mulled over and considered. All the things are amazing and shocking and weird if seen from the right angle, newness is a great way to make it happen. It reminds of the phenomenon of seeing a word that you have known all your life and for some reason suddenly being unsure if it "looks right" because you just really see it for some unknown reason and it looks so odd, so whimsical, so bizarre...."Is that really how it goes?" Even though you've seen it your whole life and written and read it countless times, there it is, looking so conscious and oddly impressive. Its how people learning English feel when they see the word for the first time too, and you just got a freak glimpse of it like some odd wrinkle in time. That's me, in California. Although....I guess, its less a freak glimpse and more "learning English." Learn on!


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