The folly of growing an avocado tree

Day 144 of Self Quarantine             Covid 19 Deaths in U.S.:  158,000

In month two of the never ending ground hog days of the Covid 19 pandemic, I decided to grow an avocado tree.  While on my vegan diet, I’ve grown to love avocados.  I started with one seed and when it sprouted a tap root, I decided to grow six more.

I tried different experiments.  I tried small avocado seeds and large avocado seeds.  The large ones never grew a tap root.  I tried scraping the bottom of the seed and not scraping the bottom.  I had better success with the scraping.

Of course, being a guy I never looked up online how to actually grow an avocado seed into a tree.  Nor did I look to see what the likely success will be of my seed turning into a tree which produces an avocado.  And I certainly didn’t look to see how long it takes for an avocado “fruit” to mature into something that I could eat.

What I do have is time.

So it was a pleasant surprise when one of the seeds got a long enough tap root to plant and I could see a stem start to emerge.  After a few skirmishes with the squirrels and raccoons trying to dig up my fragile little avocado plant, I was amazed to see leaves start to appear.  And within a week, the fledgling plant was above the rim of the planter.  My wife suggested that I put a little cayenne pepper around the plant to keep the squirrels away.  So far that has worked.

With the patience of being quarantined, I watch my avocado plant grow each day.   It’s not much, but it is my attempt to add a little green to my life.

Now that I’ve gotten this far, I figured it was time to look in the Googlesphere for what I might expect of my future avocado “tree.”

Will my avocado trees ever grow fruit?

Hard to say! Sometimes avocado plants will begin growing fruit after they’re 3 or 4 years old, others take 15+ years to grow fruit, and some never do. It helps to have several avocado trees growing together to aid with pollination. However, don’t expect the fruit to be anything like the avocado that yielded your seed. Commercial avocados are grown from grafted branches to control the outcome of the fruit – a naturally grown avocado may be very different than its parent!

I guess I should have checked with the Interwebs to see what my future probability of fruit would be.  Oh well, I guess I will go plant something sure fire like zucchini.

As I watch my avocado grow, I read  We are the Weather by Jonathan Safran Foer.  Once again, I encounter the power and the problem of not having a good narrative for something like climate change that moves forward oh so slowly.

“It is natural to assume that if we are to summon the necessary will to meet the planetary crisis, we will have to summon the necessary care. We will need to regard Earth as our only home — not idiomatically, and not intellectually, but viscerally. As the Nobel Prize– winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman, who pioneered the understanding that our minds have a slow (deliberative) and a fast (intuitive) mode, put it, “To mobilize people, this has to become an emotional issue.” If we continue to experience the struggle to save our planet as a midseason away game, we will be doomed.

“Clearly, facts aren’t enough to mobilize us. But what if we can’t summon and sustain the necessary emotions? I’ve wrestled with my own responses to the planetary crisis. It feels obvious to me that I care about the fate of the planet, but if time and energy invested are expressions of caring, it’s undeniable that I care more about the fate of a specific baseball team on the planet, my childhood-hometown Washington Nationals. It feels obvious to me that I am not a climate change denier, but it is undeniable that I behave like one. I would let my kids skip school to participate in the wave at opening day of baseball season, but I do virtually nothing to resist a future in which our home city is underwater.”

This paragraph so painfully describes my stepping into the world of advocating for trans-formative changes in our behavior to do everything we can to reverse climate change:

“When researching this book, I was often shocked by what I learned. But I was rarely moved by it. When I was moved, the feeling was transient, and it was never deep enough or durable enough to change my behavior over time.”

Foer, Jonathan Safran. We Are the Weather (p. 27). Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Kindle Edition.

Read those words again:

I was often shocked . . . but I was rarely moved.”

So much of my “Ground Hog Day” life in the Age of  Tя☭mp, replays over and over the shock, but not enough to move.

It is time to move.  It is time to transform.

But first, I will go for a walk in the woods.

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