July, a Time for Thinning Carrots

In the late 1950’s Pete Seeger took the words of Ecclesiastes and made the song called “Turn Turn Turn” about how to live and when to take action. It became an rallying cry for many in the 1960’s. It is a song about finding the moment to act, and it speaks to the entirety of life-political, social and personal.

“To everthing, there is a season-and a time for every purpose under heaven…a time to be born, a time to die… a time to build up, a time to break down…a time to dance, a time to mourn….a time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together.” The song became a famous anthem against the Vietnam War perhaps because of its last line: “A time for peace, — I swear it’s not too late.”

Now is the time for action– to hold our country accountable, and to live up to the true meaning of the creed that all men and women are created equal.

One very important need of the moment is to care or our community, ourselves, our young and old. May this be, too, a time for gardening and especially to grow frost kissed carrots in the garden. Here in Massachusetts it is the time to get your carrot seeds in the ground. If planted in June it is the time to thin the carrots.

Alice Munro, the Canadian writer who won the Noble Prize for Literature in 2013, is celebrated for recording the intensity of feelings of life in a small frame. When I read her short story “Night” for the first time the following passage about thinning carrots resonated with me: “I remeber squatting down to thin the baby carrots as you had to do every spring, so the root would grow to a decent size to be eaten.”

So few words, so evocative of my own experience: the “squatting down,” the “as you do every spring,” the “grow to a decent size to be eaten.” Now is our time for action and for thinning carrots.

There is a passage in Shakespeare Julius Ceasar, “There is a tide in the affairs of men, / Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune, / Omitted, all the voyage of their life / Is bound in shallows and in miseries, / On such a full sea are we now afloat, / And we must take the current when it serves, / Or lose our ventures..”

So now is the time for us to act for greater adherance to the true meaning of our creed, and to fight for social justice. If you have the good fortune to have a garden it is also a time to thin carrots and to acknowledge that all do not share in your good fortune. That is what I plan to do today.

Carrots waiting to be thinned. The rain of the last few days has assured a high level of germination. To get good sized frost kissed carrots the carrots will need to be thinned.

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