Dear Blog Reader
I hope that this finds you doing well. I am fine. We at Flying Dirt Farms have nearly exhausted the lilac supply. With January lasting 127 days this year, we are pretty late with the peonies, nigella, sweet peas, larkspur and other hardy annuals that get us to that magical second week of June time when we can coax sunflowers, and zinnias into our flower pallet. I know peonies are perennials not hardy annuals but work with me here all of you Master Gardeners. So we have relied heavily on the lilac supply. Each week going to our favorite abandoned farm houses, skulking around back and finding the old dilapidated outhouse. It never fails. You walk around to the backside of old farm houses and there will be the outhouse and its lone sentinel; a dark purple lilac bush. It does look the worse for wear. It could use a restorative pruning; a hacking away at the old growth allowing fresh growth to come in and produce more blooms.
All of the outhouses had them. Can you image how much you would look forward to the end of winter and the start of the aromatic magic of the lilac? That sweet fragrance so strong that it meant your poop didn’t stink for two whole weeks. Our grand parents (unless you are my children’s ages; then our great grand parents) were made of sturdy stuff. To imagine that two weeks of relief would make it worth spending your Mother’s Day loot on a sweet smelling, flowering shrub is a bit amazing in this day and age of instant gratification where playing “Fortnight” will consume our children’s time for the next month before the newest craze hits the gaming universe.
Enough about the sweet smelling, beautiful flowers that the lovely Miss Beverly is selling that the Garfield Park farmers market every Saturday from 9:00 to 12:30; May through October.
I am here to share the concern that I have for you, my dear blog readers. Over the past two weeks or so a new epidemic has had the bright media spot light shined upon it. No fewer than four media eruptions have occurred highlighting this societal nemesis. According to the experts, it is deadlier than obesity but not as deadly as smoking; proving once again that if it isn’t one thing its another. How am I ever going to live to be one hundred and fifty years old with all of these longevity stalkers trying to track me down?
So naturally my thoughts turned to you blog readers. Are you okay? Are you lonely?
Who is this new stalker? It appears that loneliness is the latest thing dragging us down. The first article was published on May 1. I am thankful that the editor showed restraint and didn’t give the article the headline “May Day! May Day! We are All Going to Die!” The article lays out the following premises:
1: Loneliness has huge impacts on public health.
2: Loneliness is particularly bad in the US with most people (more than half) feeling lonely.
3: The young appear to be most vulnerable.
4: We need a systematic approach (read big government program) to overcome loneliness.
This study was conducted by Cigna, a mega big insurance company, and reported in Business Insider; written by Kevin Loria.
Around the same time the same statistics were spewed forth from our local Indianapolis Star. I was also listening to a pod cast where the Buddhist author was antidotally reporting that 78% of all people were lonely and . . . all of them were going to die. Unlike all other bad news coming in threes, the loneliness bad news train had four cars. Mattie Quinn reported on “The Loneliness Epidemic” in May’s issue of Governing. In the article, Brigham Young University “found that weak social connections can shorten a person’s life at roughly the same rate as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. In England, they are planning to establish a minister of loneliness. OMG.
How did this epidemic sneak up on us? I was busy exercising, riding down lonely roads on my bike at 5:00 a.m. and shunning my favorite bars that allowed me to continue smoking on guys night out, all in an effort to live a long healthy life, and I suddenly get ran over by the loneliness bus. Or, should that be the loneliness unicycle?
Let’s face it. Loneliness isn’t new. The Beatles sang their tribute to the lonely 52 years ago with Eleanor Rigby on the Yellow Submarine. Were she and Father McKenzie were patients zero and one in this epidemic. Father McKenzie was the guy in verse two but received no naming rights in the deal; lonely and no royalties. The father really got screwed.
The reason for their loneliness? I would appear that they spent too much time in church. Thankfully, that organization’s relevance has been eroded to the point that the church can’t be the loneliness virus. I guarantee that regular church attendance is less than 40% in America now. So don’t go blaming the church for this one. Marx said the religion is the opiate of the masses way back in the 1840’s. Thankfully, we have turned that corner and heroine and fentanyl are the opioids of the masses now. Phew! It is good to get that religion opioid problem solved.
I know what you are asking. “So what do you suggest that we do about it Mr. Smarty pants?”
1: The answer isn’t a systematic (government program) approach. Remember the war on poverty, the war on drugs, the war the end all wars, no child left behind? The systematic approach only institutionalizes the problem and forces it’s continuation in order to maintain the infrastructure of the solution.
2: This is not my idea. In a recent reading Love Does by Bob Goff, I was impressed by his practice of making a difference. He put his cell phone number on the last page of the book. The opportunities brought about by that openness were inspiring. So here goes. My phone number is 317 519 5902. If you are prepared to carry on a conversation with an extreme introvert, I am prepared to do my part and answer the phone.
Or even better, if you show up at the end of our driveway, knock on the door. We can go out to the garden and hoe this long row . . .