The Sound Of Her Unspooling
March 26, 2020
Sometimes, it can feel surprising that any beauty still exists in the world. It can feel wrong to keep cultivating our gardens while the world shatters outside our windows.
Yes, it’s time to once again gawp at the mindset of the Salon-reader demographic. Or at least the Salon-writer demographic, with which it presumably overlaps. Specifically, a piece by Ms Alex Dew, “a recent graduate of Eastern Washington University’s Master of Fine Arts programme in Creative Nonfiction,” and whose urgent bulletin to the world is titled My Houseplant Garden Is A Tiny National Park Donald Trump Can Never Destroy.
If that sounds a tad overwrought and not entirely even-keeled, do read on.
I begin each day by taking a mental inventory of whatever horrors Trump has committed since I have been asleep,
As one does.
scrolling through news outlets and social media on my iPhone, even though I know that this probably bad for my mental health.
I suspect this may be a matter of putting the cart before the horse. And perhaps tellingly, mental health is mentioned more than once in Ms Dew’s article.
There is evidence that Trump’s presidency has had a negative effect on the mental health of many Democrats, with 72% of those surveyed in one study reporting an increase in anxiety since he has taken office. Sometimes, it’s enough to make me not want to get out of bed.
A phenomenon at which we’ve previously marvelled. More than once.
After reading the news, it is time to attend to my indoor garden, to do the work of keeping my plants alive: the trimming and the watering and the fertilising. This work is meditation, a way of going on.
Yes, going on. Bravely, heroically, and despite the realisation that your preferred candidate lost an election, four years ago.
And then the defiant phrase,
My houseplant garden is a tiny national park that Donald Trump can never destroy.
By the way, today’s word is fixation.
Ms Dew goes on to share with us a list of mental torments, including “daily catastrophes,” “years of therapy,” the “strange, hallucinogenic days after Trump’s inauguration,” and “my failures to get my life together after graduate school.” At which point, today’s other words could be displacement and blame-shifting.
When not spending her time being surprised “that any beauty still exists in the world” – despite, one assumes, the existence of Donald Trump - Ms Dew cherishes her “small, green children,” her “microcosm” of, er, sanity:
In my home, I have control. I may not be able to save the world from Donald Trump, but I can save my plants from scourges like root rot and spider mites.
Like many Democrats, I suffer from bouts of Donald Trump Stress Disorder.
Apparently, the progressive mind is a terribly fragile thing and easily broken. Clearly, these people should be put in charge.
Numerous studies have noted that respondents reported higher levels of calm and well-being after spending time with plants. Proponents of “earthing,” or skin-to-skin contact with soil, argue that this practice reduces anxiety… While there may be scant scientific evidence of the benefits of earthing, I can anecdotally confirm that this contact with foliage and dirt brings me a new kind of peaceful awareness.
Yes, Ms Dew may be coming undone - and mentioning Mr Trump no fewer than fourteen times - but at least she can steady herself during her daily crises by clutching handfuls of soil. It’s a “small act of resistance.” A way of “healing from oppression.”
Via Lady Cutekitten.
Ooh, a button.