Striving For Life

Mrs. Wigglebottom would have made an excellent farmer.  She loves to dig through dirt, eat things right out of the garden (sorry, neighbors), and, happily, has taken a shine to tending to my tiny herb garden.

This morning, as we got back from our walk, we stopped by the herbs and I touched each of them and Mrs. Wigglebottom put her nose in each plant.  We both seem to like the smell of the sage the best.

The basil is unhappy.  I only hope it will hold on until the weather gets a little warmer.

I was telling the Professor the other day that something about the basil has freaked me right the fuck out.  I mean, we have houseplants, but in general, we have houseplants that will suffer a lot of abuse–succulents that can stand if you forget to water them and a spider plant I’ve had for years and years and not been able to kill.

The basil, though, is another story.  It responds quickly to light or too much water or not enough sun.  In other words, the things it does to respond to its environment seem to happen at such a pace that I notice it and that seems fast for something that doesn’t have a central nervous system or a brain.

The Professor says that I’m responding to the fact that the plant strives for life, that it makes rudimentary efforts to stay alive.

I don’t quite know what to make of that, or if there’s anything to be made from that.

I hope the basil lives, though.  Even though I will kill it later and grind it up.  Ha, I guess that’s what’s got me thinking.

Why are some life impulses worth protecting and others not?  Why does it bother us to kill some things and not others?  How do we draw those lines?  I don’t know and I don’t have a good sense of it.  But I like to think about it anyway.

5 thoughts on “Striving For Life

  1. That’s part of why I ascribe power to herbs in my planting life. Many of them are like infants, needing attention and demanding it. Herbs do communicate more forthrightly than other plants. Is Basil inside? She should be; it’s too cold out there for her yet.

    Why does it bother us to kill some things and not others?

    I don’t know of anyone who isn’t bothered at some level when they kill something. I could be wrong, but I don’t even like to kill flies. I don’t mind it when they are dead, I just don’t like to be the one to kill them.

  2. But we don’t kill herbs, exactly. Many herbs are perennials: we harvest their leaves but do not kill them. And annuals are dying anyway. We take the remains of their lives and make them useful. It’s true that in both cases we are using them for our own purposes, but I don’t think that we are murderers.

    BTW, basil can be a perennial if you’re willing to keep it indoors over the winter and harvest only some of the leaves instead of the whole plant.

  3. Don’t sweat your basil. It’s still a little early for it. Basil likes long warm days and sun, both of which are in short supply right now.Basil plants are very picky about cold. Plus-and this is a big one-you can start more from seed very easily. Basil seeds are what used to come with those tiny terrariums in cereal boxes-it’s that easy.

    Perhaps I should bring the materials for easy-do it yourself basil seed starting to the gathering. Anybody can do it.

  4. Oh and since it seems appropriate to this thread-Nashville Herb Society sale on Saturday April 21 at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds. They have entire tables of various basils, lavenders and rosemarys.

    You should go for the smells and aromas alone.

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