After celebrating the wonders of capitalism by working on Independence Day —
we are two weeks behind on orders and working like fiends
while re-orders stack up into the fall —
(and let me mention that the 9-5 day was not without
its marching about the work space
to the tune of Yankee! Doodle! Dandy!
with impromptu hats a'head) —
I walked home and set to cooking an extremely casual holiday meal:
kale caesar (greens from the garden), burgers, potato chips
and chocolate cake with whipped cream.
One estimate of guests was seven potential arrivés,
(all invited very last minute as in *this morning*)
and in the end, three showed up.
It was me and three men (two related)
and nary a complaint from the cook.
The sun was shining, the wine was flowing
and the conversation veered, as it often does in this particular group,
to The State of the Nation/World:
America, Egypt, Syria, Israel, Mali, Ecuador, China,
Obama, Snowden, Monsanto, GMO's,
the NSA, solar energy, corn, etc.
We are a lively group.
(The cake, made with whole wheat pastry flour, was weird.)
(The whipped cream, thankfully, was not.)
Once dessert was consumed, I stepped away from the table
and, snippers in hand, ventured into the snaggled snare
that is at the back of my garden:
grapes, collards, morning glory, lemon balm.
Entwined, entangled, aphid-infested, mildewed,
gone to seed, over-extended, an over-abundance of everything I don't want.
I pulled, yanked, uprooted, clipped, tore-at, broke,
sliced, ripped, severed, flung, tossed, cursed-at.
Aphids took up temporary residence in my hair
and all the while I listened to the three men debate
the future of life on the planet.
And I had to stop them in mid-sentence
and point out how much like their conversation
my chore-of-the-moment was:
a state of a contained universe (the earth)
where overpopulation (grapes, collards, morning glory, lemon balm)
threatened its very existence. Not enough air flow (pollution)
resulting in an explosion of aphids (viruses/disease/decay)
and mildew (crop-failure where the end result is mass starvation).
And would my coming in with the big weapons (clippers/muscle)
at the last minute, really do any good?
The three men looked at me as if they'd suddenly encountered a crazy lady.
(Which was not wholly untrue.)
Standing before them, I leaned over and thoroughly shook myself
in an attempt to dislodge bugs/leaves/seedpods, not unlike a dog after a bath.
And then they resumed talking.
It seemed my impact on them was, at best, minimal.
Now, an hour later and nearly dark, the sounds of our yearly war-re-enactments
are gathering steam, spark & flare.
The universe is humming with explosions
and the sky is beginning to light up with colors of $$$ burned.
Shortly I'll go out to my balcony and watch the show
from every corner of my horizon, knowing that I did what I could
to tame everything that's out of control
in this minimal fragment of what I call my own.