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HALF-WILD

Each summer, we were supposed to clean up our garden spot on the last weekend
in October, to tidy things up before the seasonal rule Don’t Go In the Garden Space was
made explicit. But things don’t stop growing just because the guards say, “Don’t go in
the garden space.” They have a life of their own. I said I would do it, and I did. But
instead of tearing everything out and putting it in garbage bags in the dumpster by the
Clinic door, I bent the radishes, lettuces, and tomatoes over and suggested that they
reseed themselves. I cracked open the late season watermelons and the cantaloupes we
had grown from seed smuggled out of the Central Kitchen garbage and loosed their seeds
in the dirt at the edge of the plowed ground, then kissed it all good-bye and waited to see
what would happen. Next May, the Recreation department somehow failed to rent a rototiller, so the
square of ground never was turned wholesale. Instead we had to dig the individual plots
by hand, sometimes with a shovel, sometimes squatting with nothing but rocks and sticks.
By then our plot already had a healthy crop of sorrel, plantain, and four-inch high lettuce.
I sprinkled it with dandelion seeds, cleared weeds away from the five volunteer green
onions, and dreamed of salad.
All through June we harvested baby lettuces and mild-tasting weeds to dress with
mayonnaise from the Canteen store, thinned with garlicky vinegar from the dill pickles
sold whole, sharpened with a shake of crushed dried chilies and some Kraft Parmesan.
By July 4th radish thinnings added a peppery bite. It’s too bad I didn’t learn about eating
pea shoots until the arrival of the August issue of Food Arts magazine, or we surely
would have added them. The poor quality seeds and the sandy, sloping ground kept the
pea plants from ever growing more than eight or ten inches tall, and we had simply
written them off. This whole thing is one long meditation in allowing yourself to be bent
by whatever winds blow. Everything living on this planet got here just this way.

About Katherine Power

I didn’t set out to be a terrorist. As a student activist, I moved from protesting the war in Viet Nam to waging guerrilla war to overthrow the government….

Recent and Upcoming Appearances and Publications
11/13/18 A Journey from Guerrilla to Grandmother, Lifelong Learners: An Independent Collaborative, Temple Shir Tikva, 141 Boston Post Road, Wayland, MA 01778
10/10/18 Provincetown Women’s Week Reading from Doing Time:Papers from Framingham Prison, AMP, 432 Commercial Street, Provincetown, MA
4/6-9/2018 The Nature of Change, Radical Imagination Conference, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
1/15/2014 Complexity and Social Change, Occupy Radio
10/31/2013 Surrender, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
10/25/2013 Surrender, Taos Community Theater, Taos, NM

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