in song and dance
they share the world
from Step Gently Out
by Helen Frost
photographs by Rick Lieder
Candlewick Press, 2012
In William Wordsworth’s sonnet “The World is Too Much With Us,” he is railing against (and grieving for) the state of the world due to overconsumption. He wrote and published that poem in the early 1800s. Here we are 200 years later, and not too much has changed.
I’m as guilty as the rest of us, blithely blogging away, writing sometimes when it is dark, so (needlessly) consuming extra electricity. Using plastic because it is convenient (but I draw the line at Styrofoam). Wasting water. I always mean to catch the cold water as I let it run to hot for a shower or the dishes, but I forget until it is too late.
I try to be responsible. My coffee is fair-trade, purchased from a local health food store. I recycle my newspapers (and everything else my recycler will take away). I compost my kitchen and yard scraps and use it in the garden. But I know I could do more.
This Spring, and, sure as shootin’, Spring is coming, I’ll plant for Mother Nature. Dahlias and snapdragons for the bees, sunflowers for the birds, and I know something (oh! I hope that groundhog doesn’t come back) will probably get into my lettuces.
I don’t plant a big garden. Besides the lettuces, just grape tomatoes in a pot, some herbs in a raised bed, and an experiment or two. One year I tried Brussels sprouts. I had a bumper crop that I harvested by flashlight when I got home from work. I rinsed them and broke them off the stalk and popped them into boiling water. That was a success! But the cucumbers never got any bigger than my little finger. The garlic failed to thrive. The peas blossomed, but didn’t produce. I planted those for their flowers anyway, so we were all happy enough.
One year, my mom planted a row of strawberries alongside the garage. The blossoms came and we couldn’t wait for those ripe, juicy berries. The birds always beat us to them, though. I don’t remember eating even one strawberry from Mom’s crop. Last year, I planted my own strawberries in a pot. I covered them with flexible screening. The birds can help themselves to the feeder-food out front (and the sunflowers, if they grow). My strawberries are mine!
So when I get overwhelmed by feeling the world is too much with me, and I know I will, I’ll try to remember to breathe deeply, sit quietly in my garden, and think of William Wordsworth, whose cure for all society’s ills is a closer relationship with Nature.