I’m at the end of a tough week that included facilitating family caregiving groups twice a week and reuniting a lost four-year-old with her father. The child had wandered away in the grocery store. Because he kept apologizing, I had a distinct impression the father was fearful of my reaction and stunned that I was kind and non-judgmental. Perhaps because he was foreign? At the least, expected to be judged. That reaction makes me sad.  The opportunity to feel safe in your surroundings is not a choice; it’s a right. Who are any of us to judge?

The end of the week brought resolution to our situation with Jeld-Wen – a door and window company from whom we bought new exterior French doors and were determined to be defectively warped. They were nice enough initially until they realized we wanted a refund. We are now ending where we started four months ago. It’s a curious thing when a company does its best not to understand a customer’s needs. I would never willingly do business with this company again.

I’m pleased to report that while my pepper plants seem to be struggling after having had the tops eaten by Grampa Groundhog. Everything else is visibly thriving. The tomatoes all have flowers which are a hope for a good crop. However, I am alarmed that we have no bees around this year! I usually have to be extremely careful working in my garden so as not to get stung. I’m concerned the flowers won’t be pollinated. Thankfully, we have a fair number of butterflies present. I checked with my gardening neighbors, and they have seen fewer or no bees. However, no bees around are tremendously troubling.  Something is not okay.

On June 11, 2021, Maine signed a statewide restriction on neonicotinoid use which restricts the nervous system of bees, butterflies, and other invertebrates. I’m unclear if this prevents selling plants that have had neonicotinoid applied before purchasing, such as those sold at Home Depot and Lowe’s, but this law seems to be an improvement in the right direction. I applaud this effort led by Maine’s Rep.Nicole  Grohoski.

I’m very concerned about the insect population. I see very few Japanese or Asian beetles. I’m thrilled they didn’t eat my lilies and roses. However, when there is an unexplained change, I’m uneasy. I’m seeing fewer flies and mosquitos this year, but I’m noting record numbers of ants and the teeny, tiny black flies. Survival of the fittest? Insect genocide?

I am noticing the seemingly rapid and alarming destruction of Maine’s trees.

Earthmovers and tree removers are busy along Maine’s interstate. New roads, buildings, high wire corridors, and solar farms replace nature’s habitats for insects, animals, and plants.

ClearClear Cutting for 142 miles long CMP Energy Corridor

Add to this the demise of small Maine farms that use regenerative practices. Progress is necessary.  When progress is highly contributing to the death of the planet, there is cause for alarm. Whether it’s the result of climate change, pesticides, forest destruction, or other reasons, the reasons for bees and other insect extinction are interrelated. What we do in our backyard affects every other location in the world.

Whether we are talking about supporting immigrants, resolving a purchase, or destroying the planet, we are in community with plants, trees, animals, and each other.

What is done to one is done to us all.

 All next week, I’m attending a virtual gardening summit. I’ll report back with positive, encouraging ideas of how we all can help nurture the planet through gardening opportunities.