Scorched Earth Gardening

I gave my wife Diane a wonderful little counter-top hydroponic edible herb garden for Christmas with the latest LED grow light. You don’t even have to get your hands dirty: Fill it with water, plug it in, add some nutrients and seed pods, and then wait while nothing happens for what seems like the longest time.

Everything germinates at different times; we were sure two of the six pods were duds and would never germinate. Suddenly, a single tiny shoot on one pod appears and then another, then they start reaching for the artificial sun. With time, all six pods sprouted and with more time the plants stretch and mature to compete with each other. After a few months, we’re overwhelmed with a variety of herbs and have more Dill, Thai basil, Cilantro, Mint, Italian Basil, and Parsley than two of us can use.

I’m moving away from commenting on Hudson as a topic, as the world has many interesting and important topics and problems. I’m planning to eventually seek a wider audience on a wider variety of subjects and try to step on fewer toes locally. I will change my Hudson role to back being a single voice citizen attending council meetings and discussing issues on all sides privately where I feel there is merit.

I’ve explored some of Hudson’s many divides, via discussions and dialogues on this blog and private conversations. Hudson has groups and individuals standing on different sides of many issues, not always respecting each other. In the middle ground between all sides is scorched but very fertile earth. Weeds are the first thing that grows in this place and weeds are overrunning our garden: the weeds of anger, distrust, hurt feelings and disrespect are encroaching from all sides including council, town employees and citizens at large. Our community has not enough hope and is starved for progress and good news.

There is a massive disinterest from the silent majority of constructive community gardeners who wisely won’t choose or speak on any side of most arguments. I understand and respect that decision to silence because disrespect and anger are just not the way of the vast majority of the good people of Hudson.

I’ve seen similar and significant attitude problems from all sides, and I have tried to plant some seeds by suggesting exactly the same solutions to both sides, both with my public blog comments and by emails and discussions which will remain private and confidential.

I’ve weathered distrust and anger from both sides of several issues as I’ve tried to lay foundations for some bridges that I personally think need to be to be built, lest we waste the balance of this council’s mandate and install another completely new group that can never satisfy us without our collective cooperation and mutual respect. Hudson chews up and spits out council after council, reducing the effectiveness of the next one.

I’m prepared to have none of my ideas come to fruition, and would be excited if even one took root, but I will never take credit for any that do because I have only provided a few small seeds to a starving community in a place that I know is capable of growing small ideas into great things by cooperating. My no risk offer: The first side to make a public move on one of my ideas that succeeds can take all the credit if it works, and if it fails please blame it on me for ever suggesting it in the first place.

Now is the time for each side of every divide among us to not just plant some of their own quality seeds on our scorched earth, but to nurture the many good ones that survived scorching and the new ones that may sprout as a community of friends works together. We have an underutilized wealth of knowledge, energy with time and willingness to volunteer, but we’re perpetually fighting among ourselves instead of pulling weeds and tending our community garden. We are indeed growing some hate among us, time to stamp that out.

I’m not a gardener good at nurturing; I’m a planter of ideas and hopes and certainly a facilitator of forcing discussions we wish to avoid. I’m not a patient enough man to wait the time it will naturally take for ideas to take root and grow, so I’m forever disturbing tender soil to the detriment of not yet established roots. Plus, I’m only one person and deserve only one voice while our leaders have seven voices and the mandate and validity of election to understand and speak for the majority of Hudson.

Hopefully, one or more of the seeds I’ve tossed onto this scorched earth will germinate and grow.  I know that if I am to have any positive effect, I must step back, move on to other more global or spiritual ideas in my blog posts and we’ll see if there is indeed any good idea planted and any fertile ground in this scorched earth we inhabit together if something sustainable germinates.

I will continue to moderate and engage in constructive respectful forward looking discussion on my past blog posts about Hudson, and hopefully on lots of future ones on other subjects. I will attend council meetings whenever I can and I am always available for one on one or small group forward thinking discussion that doesn’t involve anger.

3 thoughts on “Scorched Earth Gardening

  1. in deference to any english teachers in the audience(who remain too polite or too tired to reply), must say i winced when i read this piece. that said, i do commend you on your martyring on through scorched earth to plant seeds of hope which would surely thrive if someone(s) could figure out a way to get the sewage flowing. best of luck peter, and count your blessings on that day job. sincerely yours from a gardener who cares.


    1. Thank you for your constructive and quite correct comments.My parents had quite a career of apologizing to teachers of all subjects. My later life leaves my wife apologizing to well meaning and polite local citizens who have at times felt an obligation to read my words and sometimes failed to enjoy the experience.

      It’s a lonely place out here in the world of community commentary and blogging.

      Great that you survived the wincing and the unpleasant journey through my admittedly unwashed words, convoluted and badly punctuated sentences, and jungle like structure.

      Unlike most readers, you were still left with the energy and passion to constructively and very correctly criticize the presentation, while still absorbing and commenting on my general message. That is a blogger’s best reward, so a sincere thank you for a very positive start to my day.

      I do however object to your reference to martyring, as I have no interest in the death part of that. Writing local commentary is more akin to taping the “Kick me” sign to the back of your own shirt prior to heading off to high school each day.

      My day job, thankfully has retained my focus. Clearly, writing is not my strength, but I’m not self conscious enough to let that deny my voice.I wish the silent majority felt what I feel, it’s the thought that counts.

      I have never made a dime from writing, for obvious reasons. I’m actually amazed when people think that I might generate an income from my words. That’s not to say that my writing has been without personal or community value.

      I managed to extort, from the very generous community minded publisher of the now defunct and much missed Hudson Gazette, a small stipend for each of 208 columns.

      That stipend was, at my direction, donated to the support of Memorial Scholarship Fund for the only person ever to die in direct service of the Town of Hudson.


      1. peter: o.k.,in lieu of this riposte i’m willing to change martyring to christian soldiering. glad to see you are fixed on a higher goal, and may your thickening skin protect you from the loneliness of community commentary and blogging.


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