Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Monsoon Season

It's Monsoon Season. Apparently.

All draggy in-joke aside, it's been raining nearly every day for the past week and a half in the Southeast.

But before the deluge, I walked out on my front porch one Saturday morning and looked at our lush row of azaleas in full bloom and thanked my Dad for planting them when I was little. They bring my little family no small amount of joy in the spring. But with all the rain, the flowers are now wilting and falling. Here's what they look like now.

I write a good bit about how things are as opposed to how they ought to be. One of the fundamental flaws with the American way of life, as I see it, is that we over-consume. To transition our homes from centers of consumption to centers of production is a worthy goal, one that can help a family achieve autonomy and protest - in a small way - one of the ills of society. Gardening is my family's first step into this more thoughtful, responsible lifestyle.

We're starting with a small vegetable garden. Ideally we will eventually produce all of our own food and eat nothing packaged. This could cut down on waste and help us to eat healthier as we avoid pesticides, antibiotics, hormones and preservatives. If we eventually give up eating meat, we would also avoid violence towards animals. Here's the beginning of our backyard garden spot.

We've got two cages with tomato plants. We've also got some watermelons and peppers we're going to grow. At this point, being inexperienced gardeners, we need to just experiment and learn. Find out what works.

It's a long-term project, a plan for our future. The vegetable garden isn't all we're doing, though. In the front yard we've planted a small dogwood tree.

In the back we planted a row of ten more azaleas. Three varieties, with different colors and sizes.

Besides trying to consume more ethically and consume less, we also find that contemporary society is unsatisfactory in its isolation from nature. Staying outside for hours and hours every day, getting our hands into the soil, connects us with nature. It's a form of happiness in the Aristotelean sense; it's virtuous activity. It's good for the soul.