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October 20th 2009

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    Structure in the vegetable garden appears in my mind as straight lines and serried ranks, with the occasional label.  And I know this is frailty on my part.

    Many years ago, before adequate resources for fencing, a Groundhog waddled down a neat row of lettuce and selfishly consumed over half the row before being discovered.  

    I think of that groundhog now and I can blame him and his kind for the nature of the current vegetable garden, which in the cold morning light can be mistaken for that gated community which is a prison camp.  Fences and barracks.

    Possibly vegetables do not tend toward the distant horizon, or dream of greener valleys.  But to think of them as not having a relationship with others is an error, and to place them precisely in straight lines, clearly lacks that part of empathy central to a more accurate conceptualization of the relationship plants have with others, and with me.

    

   

    Here it is not that wretched companion planting book I am talking about.  This is not palm reading for profit.  Rather it is a pursuit of that transitory moment I would follow Heidegger by calling 'authentic' if that word 'authentic' did not so often produce an allergic reaction in me.

    Better to call it 'glow in a culmination of moments'.  And recall that had we shot the groundhog that so enjoyed lettuce, turned his pelt into mittens, and his flesh into bolognaise our vegetable garden today would look very different.

    But I still can't think of potatoes as growing in anything other than rows.  I can't put myself into a mental condition that might accept strawberry plants as not in a strawberry bed.    

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tim candler

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(groundhog)