Friday, July 01, 2011

To the words I said

My beautiful lettuce, grown from seed.

Planting a row of collard greens today, I thought about water. Mainly because the beans I planted last week aren’t getting enough, and now they may be rotting in the ground. I’m partly thinking that it’s foolish to be planting anything this late, but my garden book assures me that collards taste better after a frost, and that there’s no point in planting pole beans in this climate until the soil’s warmer than 55 degrees. Nonetheless. Water.

I’m not sure I’m watering the garden enough, but watering is another of those ecologically sensitive topics. There’s a well at the house, but the water is pumped using electricity from the Maine power company. Maine gets almost half of its electricity from renewable resources, as proven by the massive windmills on top of Mars Hill. So that’s not that bad, right? Certainly not as bad as the lousy 18 miles-per-gallon the Econoline I drive makes.

This state has water in spades, and this land, with its low-lying acres of beaver swamp, has even more than most. The land I investigated in Georgia had no water and was built on absolute solid rock, with not much possibility for a well. I was convinced I could poke through the woods and find a spring somewhere, but water in Georgia is a matter of life and death. Something that battles, at least political ones, are fought over. My back-up plan was to install a cistern and collect water from the sky.

One of my favorite things about life aboard was catching water. I drank and showered with rainwater, and my only conundrum with water was that I had to lug it forward and pour it beneath the vee-berth into a little plastic tank. My dream was to install a deck fill for water, and then an elaborate contraption that would funnel rainwater directly into it.

I love drinking well water here, even if it does clog the coffeemaker every six months. It tastes great, and whether or not it’s true, I choose to believe I’m drinking essential trace minerals that make me healthier. My dream now is electricity generation, a small solar panel or windmill, to pump the water, with the eventual goal of complete sustainability. More and more, that’s what I’m identifying as my purpose with this kind of life.

Whether it’s planting collard greens or living on a boat or installing a solar panel, my ideal life is one where I fend for myself. My Christian family would perhaps say that’s not good enough, not a high enough ideal, that Christ sent us into the world not away from the world. But I don't see another way to live a moral life in the contemporary world. Certainly not one where my conscience is clear.

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