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Friday Feature: Planting For the Future

Despite the constantly shifting forecast, no rain fell yesterday, and it’s unlikely any will today. The weekend is a toss-up; predictions change more rapidly than the winds, and we find ourselves returning to the skepticism that has plagued our faith in the seasons in recent years.

In a clear indicator of just how different weather and climate here are this year, yesterday was the first day this year in which we did not build a fire in one of the woodstoves. We likely will not do so this evening, either — unless, of course, the earlier projections of rain turn out to be accurate after all. Summer, and still we have needed a fire.

In a world that counsels planning for the future, it is increasingly difficult to do so.

The difficulty, of course, lies in the fact that planning relies upon patterns, recognizeable and susceptible to serving as a guideline. But what to do when the patterns no longer hold?

The answer lies in one’s worldview. “Planning for the future” is one the shibboleths of colonialism, and of capitalism, too: The whole point is profit, the making of money, the accumulating of wealth. And such cultures have done well by themselves, or at least by a certain segment of their populations, in that regard. What they have not managed to do along with it is to ensure a habitable world, even for their own.

A culture built around the acquisition of wealth attendant upon white supremacy this derides our own worldviews, one in which “planning” is not understood in the same way. As so often is the case with our languages, our very words, for us, “planning” is an active thing — focused not on platinum cards and a fat retirement account, but on creating a world in which generations yet unborn will be able to survive, and thrive. Our way lies in planting for the future: conserving a portion of the best seeds, laying them gently in the earth, nurturing and cultivating them into steady growth, and creating the conditions for the abundant harvest of a healthy, prosperous world that we may never see.

For us, this is not metaphor; it is very real, very tangible, the simple fact of our history and traditions and ways of daily living.

Today’s featured work is the literal embodiment of both metaphor and object, of praxis and act. From its description in the Other Artists: Pottery gallery here on the site:

Keep your seeds safe and dry in this perfectly-shaped little seed pot by Benito Romero (Taos Pueblo). Great for storage in the cold months, and useful for dispensing seeds during planting season. Made of the Pueblo’s local micaceous clay; 3″ high by 3.5″ across at widest point (dimensions approximate). Side view shown at top.

Micaceous clay
$65 + shipping, handling, and insurance

In our cultures, such vessels are still in regular use. So, too, are the acts they represent: preparing the earth, planting the seeds, irrigating and cultivating, all done with the knowledge that the traditions will be passed on to future generations, and that while what we plant we may never see flower or fruit, whole generations of children yet unborn will thrive thanks to the effort.

Yes, this is planning, although much of the outside world doesn’t see it that way. That culture has planned itself into a world of wealth on paper, a future where, all too soon, habitability and survival will not be bought for any amount of money.

Meanwhile, we continue to plant . . . for a future in which our children’s children will be assured the wealth of food and shelter, clean water and air, of life itself in a livable world.

~ Aji








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