Thursday, 10 February 2011

I protest

Of course I was embarrassed that a photo of me being arrested last week appeared on the front page of the Sussex Express. Not only was it unflattering, but the headline, ‘OAPs arrested in Boots picnic demo’ was equally humiliating (I am 50). However, once my ego got over the shock I realised that the whole fiasco, including the illegal arrest, was effective because it had got loads of people talking about the issues. Several schoolchildren who remembered me from Lewes New School were very concerned and gave their parents the chance to unpick the story.

I’ve been occasionally protesting over the years since I was a teenager, and I tend to do it when the feeling of outrage rises up and needs expression. It’s an intuitive thing. Revolution seems to be in the air, yet the underlying causes of the problems – a capitalist system designed to reward the wealthy – economic growth based on increasing use of finite resources and polluting fossil fuels – peak oil imminent – are so endemic, it’s hard to know where things will go.

The sane place for me to turn, when my heart literally hurts, is always towards nature. I’ve been escaping off to the allotment this week whenever I’ve had enough of the computer. Finishing preparations for the spring which is tangibly starting to happen. Harvesting green salads daily from my polytunnel, which feels at times like a little chapel. This week, inspired by my friend Tali, who has a stall at the Friday market, I’ve been picking the first tender shoots of chives, sorrel and parsley and chopping them up fine with goose grass from the hedgerows and mixing with lemon juice, salt and a little olive oil, for a spring zing on our supper.

I’ve been sowing the first seeds into a small propagator I bought over the winter, a little mantra: cucumber, tomato, celeriac, celery, chillies, aubergines, dreaming of sunshine and abundance. I wonder if we’re dreaming our way out of the dark times.


Fr. Peter Doodes said...

A colleague and I were discussing a person that we have been trying to help for some while now.

She made the point that this person "feels the pain of the earth".

This came to mind when I read your comment that "The sane place for me to turn, when my heart literally hurts, is always towards nature. I’ve been escaping off to the allotment this week whenever I’ve had enough of the computer".

In the act of healing the earth we also heal ourselves Adriennne

Mark Watson said...

Well, if it's any consolation Adrienne, within the space of one week in the past month one person told me I was "ageing interestingly" when I said I was 48, and another asked when I told them that the bus fares had increased by 40% at one jump in our area recently, "You don't have your bus pass yet, do you?"!!!

I admit my beard is grey and I was wearing a woolly hat that covered my (still brow) hair, but really!

PS I think you look rather heroic in the pic.

All the best, Mark

adrienne campbell said...

I'm also enjoying becoming an elder. I think they translated my comment that most of us were grandparents into the OAP comment; clearly the word grandmother was too long for the headline!

adrienne campbell said...

actually I want to clarify: I have no problem with being older, or even better, an elder. It's just that the label OAP seems derogatory, and rather lazy shorthand.