It is time to plant the garlic. As you stand back and survey the carnage of autumn and the ashes of your summer dreams, till the earth and plant garlic.
If your bed is too shallow, the frost and winter rain will foil your efforts. Take care, plant deep, and mulch. As the snow blows, a glimpse of the garlic bed might bring a smile, it’s in there waiting out the weather. Till, sow, wait, surrender to the mystery. Harvest.
This is my seasonal metaphor. The political winter is upon us. The Republican landscape is littered with fallen fruit and empty husks. The crop is bitter. Myself and many are despairing of what lies before us.
The peace and calm of a garden does not capture at all what I am really feeling; dismay, sadness, horror. I meet people daily who share these feelings. Who represents us?
The two major parties have spoiled the crop. The crop was confidence in the system. This confidence, illusory though it may have been, was a precious thing. It is gone now. For millions the new reality is suspicion, cynicism, and disgust.
My cynical new pastime is deleting political emails without ever opening them – many, many emails clamoring for support; money, sign the petition, take the poll. I even smirk a bit, “fat chance,” delete. “Oh you want support?” Delete (evil laugh). It sounds angry, and it is.
I am angry. Perhaps it’s the most stupendously pointless endeavor, to be angry. What am I angry at? The corrupt system? The pervasive venality represented there – supported tooth and claw by my friends and neighbors on both sides of the same filthy coin? Whatever the supposed cause, and despite the pointlessness, there is a lot of anger.
The fact remains that we see what we want to see, generally around some core need being sated. I am angry with myself because I looked outside when I would have been better served to look inside. We are all swept up in these hot-button issues, and as long as candidate X says what we want to hear all else fades away to noise.
Our issue is what matters. There is too much information to take in. We are at the scene of a huge political accident. We have tunnel vision from the horror before us. Everything around us is a blur. We cannot attend to or respond appropriately.
When we spend more time looking inside, some interesting things may happen. Inside is where the action is, and the crowd and blather can’t follow. The inner landscape is where we decide what we actually need. That is where we sow our seeds of who, what, where, how, and why the quaint bygones of actual journalism remain in play in our inner garden. Who am I? Living out faith or principles, knowing what is true? What am I doing? Where am I going? How will I know the way? Why is this important to me?
The winter of discontent is upon us whether we notice or not. It is time to till, plant, and mulch. Plant a seed now; a seed of discernment, a seed of humility, a seed of contrition. Nurture this inner garden as the storms howl outside. Let the anger blow away. Vote your conscience.
With the melting snow green garlic shoots appear (reason enough to plant). We will have a new President. Our President will be, barring some miracle, an individual that the only argument to be made for them is the other candidate – they provide the perfect foil for each other in that regard.
Regardless of which you support, it is a projection of your wishes and nothing more. So perhaps some time spent examining those wishes is in order. That is, in fact, how we got here.
Our inner crop may bear a valuable harvest. Prepare for the weeds.