Tuesday, July 23, 2013

vistas of gardening

Don’t ya love it. But you know, Chauncey Gardiner had it right in Being There, as did Shakespeare: All has its summer and fall. There is winter, yet then comes spring—in the tropology of gardening lives, the literary mind*, societies, economies, and even democracy.

One could rightly argue that Annette Lareau’s discovery of “concerted cultivation” in good parenting is a kind of gardening. What’s progressive education, if not a kind of gardening. What is artistic venturing, what is inquiry.

Maybe I’ve pushed the so-called envelop of “conceptual gardening” as far as it might usefully go.

But the tropology is alive: The Gardens of Democracy: A new American story of citizenship, the economy, and the role of government has apparently inspired a special issue of the journal Democracy, captured in the trope of “the middle-out moment” of economic progressivism that Obama has used a lot and will focus intently tomorrow and in coming months.

We are called upon to garden our lives—and our humanity—well.

*Northrop Frye finds the seasonal cycle integral to Shakespearean thinking.