"This work is unlike any other, in its range of rich, conjuring imagery and its dexterity, its smart voice. Carroll-Hackett doesn’t spare us—but doesn’t save us—she draws a blueprint of power and class with her unflinching pivot: matter-of-fact and tender." —Jan Beatty

 

I dreamt my husband and mama, both gone now for years, having walked on to the next life, were helping me in the garden, setting up two new raised beds, working the dark rich soil with rakes and with our hands. I was planting turnips, the seeds so small, so many shades of purple, lavender, violet, plum, deep purply rose. “Plant cabbage with them,” Mama said, “Good companions.” John nodded, “Or spinach, or peas.” He grinned. “They like each other.”

I woke up thinking about companion planting, about ecosystems.

Ecology is all about interconnection and eternal change, creating patterns, connection, cause and effect, that shape every organism and phenomenon. Our own minds work this way, but, I wonder, Can we step back and recognize that? Can we extend that eco-understanding beyond our needs, thinking like an ecosystem”? Recognizing, developing, and honoring our “eco-mind”?

Wouldn’t an eco-mind also able to see that the survival of our own species, our own existence, our own desire to thrive, is connected to our consciously creating the context needed for that thriving, and that it is inextrcably tied to the well-being, the continuation, of other species and the health of our wider ecology.

Can we learn to see that we don’t exist above or beyond the ecosystem? That those turnip seeds, in their tiny purple majesty, are as essential as the bees that come to the comfrey, the deer who watch from the shaded wood, the cardinal that sings from the Guardian Oak, the groundhog who thinks I don’t see her in the tall grass at the edge of the yard, to the spider silent in the rain-silvered web at the side of the garage, are as essential to our own survival as they are to ours?

Make art about interconnections, about ecosystems

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