Monday, November 12, 2012

#114 Green and Gold

Dear all,
Having a garden makes it that much easier to be thankful in the harvest season.  (And having been through a storm helps me remember to be thankful for electricity, water and heat. )  So here's my harvest offering, plus the usual extras.


Africans in the garden plot that’s next to mine
are picking greens.
The leaves remind me of the vines that
now are running riot in my sweet potato plot.

I ask. 
They are indeed the same.
You eat them?  I’m incredulous.
We cook them up with onions
for our stews, they say.
Sweet potatoes can be bought
for cheap in any store.
A bunch of these will cost five dollars though,
shipped in from miles away.
We grow them for the leaves.

I have to say
I’m growing mine for all that rich and orange meat
still hidden underground,
but let me try those leaves--
so dark they must be full of iron and vitamins.

Sauteed with leeks and chives
parsley, celery, all homegrown,
stewed with fresh tomatoes
they make a tasty sauce.
Who knew?

I want to tell the world—eat sweet potato leaves!
That’s why we all need Africans
to garden with.


Mid-October and the sweet potato leaves
have lost their dark green shine
It’s time to dig.

I reach through leaves to where the stem
meets earth, push back the soil,
find gold.

Push back some more
and still do not uncover it.
This sweet potato’s huge!
I dig it out, greater than the size of both my fists
And there’s another, and a smaller one
all from one slim cutting with a few new roots
planted in the spring.

And there are more, but I’m filled up
with wonder at the magic of it all.
A tiny seed or slip of life
soaks up the elixir
of water, sun and soil
and is transformed to richness
more valuable than gold.
The very building blocks of life
are being made
right here before my eyes.

Green and gold

Cook carrots leeks and greens
bake one big sweet potato
(add a little rice)
feed four.

Breath in the blessing
breathe out thanks
for sun and rain and soil.

DARE TO THINK--A New Economy is Possible! 

Is debt necessary?

Occupy's new Strike Debt campaign has this to say:  As individuals, families, and communities, most of us are drowning in debt to Wall Street for the basic things things we need to live, like housing, education, and health care. Even those of us who do not have personal debt are affected by predatory lending. Our essential public services are cut because our cities and towns are held hostage by the same big banks that have been bailed out by our government in recent years.  Debt keeps us isolated, ashamed, and afraid.  What if we could have an economy where our debts are to our friends, families, and communities — and not to the 1%?

The Guardian offers some interesting perspective:  The problem of unpayable debts bedevils every corner of our financial system – public, corporate, and personal. So far, the response of the monetary and fiscal authorities to nearly every financial crisis has been to bail out the creditors but not the debtors. The underwater homeowner, the indebted university graduate, the laid-off worker juggling credit cards ... they get no relief at all.  Occupy’s Rolling Jubilee—using money from donations to buy distressed consumer debt from lenders at a marked down price, then canceling the debt—brings a different kind of solution into the public consciousness. The next time a systemic crisis breaks, central banks can rescue the banking system by once again buying the delinquent loans – and then cancel them or reduce the amount borrowers owe. The result would be a release of pent-up consumer purchasing power that had been stuck in debt service. Rising demand would fuel employment, wages, and a broad-based economic expansion.

Read more:

Some things that have made me hopeful recently:

The kindness and generosity of strangers after a storm.

5 Democrats and 5 Republicans in Congress who regularly gather to break bread together and get to know one another.

The structure an traditions of democracy in this country that are available to be renewed and strengthened.

A new peace agreement in the Philippines that is being monitored and maintained by a non-violent civilian peace-keeping force--a first in the world.


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