Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Scarcity and carrots--Letter #51

Dear Governor Ducey,
            Something that both businesses and universities and lives have in common is their capacity to survive with scarce resources. Humans are a plucky group. They can handle teaching more, making less money, eating less food, working longer hours, living in smaller spaces. Heck, some people live outside. Doing more with less is, of course, possible. One adapts. Survival of the fittest, etc. etc. Animals do it.  Plants do it. Carrots. You can even grow them in Flagstaff. You can stick a seed in the volcanic dirt and hope it rains. Hope the wind doesn’t blow it away. Hope that, if it does rain at all or enough, that if the carrot grows, it doesn’t run into a bunch of rocks. A regular Flagstaff-dirt grown carrot looks kind of like a mess—more a gingerroot than a bug’s bunny, a crooked, bent thing. Woody, possibly edible. Not so easy to chop and add to soup.

            When there’s never enough, it’s hard to be expansive. You just grow a tiny bit, if at all.  It’s easy to hoard soil nutrients. To worry about your own carroty future. You don’t want your neighbor carrot to do well. There’s barely enough soil, rain, sun for you. You don’t want to take on new projects, like making really tall carrot tops and digging further, toward more nutrient rich soil. You’re nervous. You’ve got a little. What if there is less down there? What if it’s even harder than this? So you grow, twisty, tiny carrot, a little bit. You’re still a carrot, sure. But you’re short, stubby, and not as nutritious as a carrot grown in soft, twice-tilled soil, raked for rocks, seeded in organic soil, mulched with compost, soaked daily with water. Those carrots are so gigantic. They fill a salad bowl. They are abundance defined.

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