I am forever changed.
I am no longer the “Obsessive Neurotic Gardener”.
Sure, I’ll continue to garden, just not “obsessively” and absolutely not “neurotically”.
I’ll continue to write, but it won’t be solely focused on the garden and my plant affection. There will be a dose of anger and whatever tickles my fancy that day. You may have realized that already but if not, my apologies in advance.
And it is all because of the threat of this f’n pipeline.
Beware of rambling rant to come.
I spent my entire evening crafting a long winded note to FERC (The “Federal Energy Regulatory Commission”), the governmental commission that is allegedly “overseeing” the potential construction of the Penn East pipeline. With the uncertainty of what lies ahead and a constant feeling of “What can I do to fight for the cause?”, I find myself drawn to writing. It keeps my mind occupied, allows for the release of pent up anger and makes me feel like I am contributing in some small way.
It is just so hard to fathom what little say we have in this entire process outside of putting up some signs on our lawns or submitting website comments. But damn if it doesn’t feel good to put those angry words on paper (figuratively speaking). And I’ve never been more impressed by all those who have given so much in this fight even if they aren’t directly affected. We are talking passion, perseverance and intelligence like I’ve never seen before.
With the real possibility that my yard may be torn to bits within the next two years, it is impossible for me to think long term in terms of a garden. And that is exactly what drew me into gardening ever since I awkwardly planted that first hydrangea back in 1997. The long range planning was exciting with infinite possibilities (not to mention a nice way to survive the winter doldrums).
At the same time, gardening provides you with short term “wins” (not to mention a bevy of constructive “losses”) along the way while you are trying to ultimately build that dream garden. And even though we all know that dream garden is difficult if not impossible to attain, we love the process. We really really love the process.
We love the research through on-line forums and magazines.
We love that surprise bloom from a perennial we had given up on.
We love visiting another garden and saying “I’m going to steal that idea”.
We love tearing it up and starting all over, convinced this is the time we will get it all right.
But now I’ve lost all of that mojo. The romanticism of gardening is gone. It is impossible to feel obsessive and senseless to remain even the least bit neurotic.
I hope this is temporary and only time will tell. I hate the fact that I’m allowing greed and the governmental co-conspirators to affect me so deeply. I’m more pissed off than I’ve ever been in my life. I’m becoming that guy that trusts no one; that happy-go-lucky and admittedly naive dude is now in the rear view. And worst of all, is the feeling of helplessness. Too much hurry up and wait.
Look, I realize things could be much worse. I’m not that far gone and I’m not looking for your sympathy in any way. We all have our battles over the course of our lifetime and this just happens to be one of them for us. I just happen to deal with it better by vocalizing it and hoping it can have even the tiniest positive impact. Writing is what I do.
And I know it may sound strange after everything I’ve written to this point, but in an odd way, this experience, even in its earliest of stages, has changed me in a positive way.
I may have lost the wonder of what my garden may hold for me in the future, but I have never been more present than I am right now. I spend more time feeling than I do planning. I feel proud of what I’ve built/accomplished without much focus on what I still need to do.
I can even say that I’ve paid more attention to my container plants than ever before. Enjoy the moment, enjoy all of those ripe tomatoes while they last.
I also sense that the kids are learning from this experience. Yes, they are losing faith in the government and the ways of the powerful people, but hopefully they are on board with standing up for what you believe in. Even when things look dire, never give up. And never take your earth for granted; it is an invaluable resource that we must not f with.
And finally, I know I said it before but it bears repeating; there are so many good people who dedicate themselves to the cause in such a selfless manner. These people are our neighbors and we need to thank them more. A sense of community is being built and strengthened and it is one that cannot be broken.
We are angry and disillusioned, but we are not giving up.