22nd May 2017

Today I have been digging in the garden. I am digging a new border, there are plants already in the zone and I’m having to dig around them. Digging around existing plants is complicated, I have to dig carefully so as not to damage anything. The ground is soft, the spade cuts into it easily. I lift the grass in its cradle of dirt, revealing a crop of worms, chunks of brick and stone, the roots of other plants. I scrape away the dirt, chopping carefully to avoid the worms. I don’t want to kill anything. I say this knowing that the grass I dig up will not survive, that there are other plants and perhaps some other creatures I cannot see that I will inadvertently end. And for what? A pretty border, for plants of my own choosing? It is arbitrary and mad; when I think about it I feel like I should stop, like I should just let the plants be even though the grass strangles other plants, the birds will eat the worms and some insects will destroy others, but in those things I am only an observer not an agent. It is when I act as an agent, deciding what lives and what dies, that I am responsible.

The sun is hot on my neck. My shoulder is aching. I lean with all my weight on the spade thinking how someone, far in the distant past, must have discovered the power of weaving from attempting to dig through matted grass. I am connected to all of those people. I am an ant in the grass, the worms wriggling under the soil, I am the same as all of those things. Only my human story, the story I tell myself, the story my culture spins around me unknowingly, that makes me think I am exceptional. There is no hierarchy of beings. There is just being. I try to remember this as I press my spade into the grass, as I gently loosen the worms from the packed earth and place them back under the ground.

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