Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Blushing is the colour of virtue


Virtue by proxy - by Pants


Diogenes of Sinope said that, apparently. The thing about blushing I mean. That he is considered the father of cynicism should concern us only in the classical sense for the purposes of this post. The guiding ethic of Greek philosophical cynicism is self-sufficiency and this is the line I intend to pursue, both here and in the vegie patch.

These are Seat of Pants own brand tomatoes. They are self-sown which is about as self-sufficient as it gets. Their parents made jiggy-jiggy in the compost heap and eh ketchup! The comedian and columnist Lewis Grizzard said,

It's difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato.

I got through a fair few of them while Sheila and Paddy were here. I needed to be on my best thought behaviour. I was careful to avoid using my sharpest knives too. I wanted to be a good host.

Gardening is meant to be relaxing but the opportunities for turning it into a neurosis are springing up at twice the rate of nineteenth century public houses with three times the social miscreance. If you've ever tried to park your SUV at a garden centre, you'll know exactly what I mean. Try testing the boiling point of your average gentle home gardener by beating him to a tray of heirloom tomatoes. You'll get the sort of whack you haven't felt since you last braved the front of the queue at the St Trinian's post-Lent jumble sale.

I've become a disciple of Esther Dean, the no-dig doyen of Australian gardening. (Not to be confused with Ester Dean whose Drop it Low deals with a different kind of seeding altogether. More no-diggity than no-dig). Esther Dean was a nice floral-frocked lady from Sydney whose 'do nothing farming' methods developed in her suburban backyard were a form of early permaculture. I don't exactly 'do nothing'. I water occasionally and read a book while the tomatoes are enjoying a little self-motivated growth spurt. Besides, I like to leave some digging for Sheila who seems to enjoy shovelling shit and buying more shit from garden centres. Como quieras.

Diogenes made several appearances in artworks, most notably as the rather degenerate reclining figure in Raphael's The School of Athens. Tomatoes have been given their fair share of attention by artists too, although arguably for different reasons. Andre Breton said,

The man that cannot visualise a horse galloping on a tomato is an idiot.

Ah, but can you visualise a tomato galloping on a horse?