I’m standing here next to a big pile of mulch, thinking how much it resembles politics: a heap of shredded trash which can work for good or for ill depending on how it’s applied. This election featured a lot of truth getting suffocated while a lot of weeds were nourished. It was discouraging to realize that a woman candidate for President could not be treated fairly. It was hard to see those who never had the experience of hitting their heads against the glass ceiling continuing to pretend it wasn’t there. You don’t see it? Of course you don’t see it, it’s not visible, that’s why they call it a glass ceiling. But if you step back for a good look you can see the supports that hold it up. They were mortared sturdily into place with the architecture of thousands of years of cultural expectations upheld as natural law. But still, each fresh assault weakens them; one day they will collapse. I’m sorry that day was not now.
Autumn stayed warm and beautiful this year right up through election day. Then the results of the election came in and brought with them a killing frost, and all the bright, wonderful, colored leaves fell from the trees. So now my choices are, sit inside moping about the coming winter, or put on my jacket and go back out. I have more bulbs to plant. I have that big pile of mulch to spread – it’s an actual mulch pile, not a metaphorical one, but in either case it’s my job to spread it where it will feed the best elements of the garden and suffocate the destructive ones. I’ll also take notes on what worked and what didn’t this time, because the success of next year’s garden depends on understanding what happened in the last one. This can be a lot harder to figure out than you’d think, or like, or hope. For gardens just like it is for politics.