Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Confessions of a Failed Earth Mama

I’m the most un-earthy Earth Mama out there. The problem, you see, is that I love the Earth, but the feeling is – sadly – unreciprocated.

For all my crunchy goodness, I sure seem to have trouble communing with nature.

First, there are the allergies. They are many: pollens, weeds, molds, grasses… I rarely walk out the door without breaking into hives or having an asthma attack. Believe me when I say I’d love to hug a tree, but the welts and rash just aren’t worth it.

To circumvent pollen allergies, I tried tackling local hiking trails in the winter, tromping through ice and snow, only to discover a latent allergy to snow mold.

I dream of growing my own organic vegetables, but I was cursed with a Black Thumb. No matter how healthy the seedling, I can kill it in two weeks. I’ve actually tested this talent with low-water cacti and no-soil hydroponics, with the exact same results. Naturally, I have no problem cultivating weeds, and I’ve tried to convince my neighbors that the four-foot thistle in my garden is a rare, exotic breed of flora. No one seems to be buying my claim, though.

My husband and kids have no need for bug spray. Although I bathe in the stuff before outings, insects from five continents hear a dinner bell when I wander beyond the safety of my front door, and they prepare to feast – en masse. The upshot is no one else gets bitten. I’m like an insect buffet, attracting every biting, flying, creepy-crawly for miles – and inviting them all to feast upon my sweet, sweet blood.

Every little nibble, of course, results in painful itching, and swollen bumps the size of Rhode Island.

I defy my Native American roots by sporting skin that burns at the slightest exposure to sunlight – a trait which has led to more than one raised eyebrow and murmurs of a vampire in the family tree. Although I’m a strong swimmer, it’s tough to find a body of water pure enough for me to dive into without serious dermatological repercussions. Between milfoil, waterfowl droppings and floating pollen, I’m pretty much a sitting duck – so to speak – when it comes to risk of skin irritation.

I’m not giving up, though. The out-of-doors won’t best this would-be Earth Mama! I shall persevere! Look for me at the community garden…

I’ll be the crunchy one in the Birkenstocks (vegan, of course), peasant skirt, haz-mat suit and oxygen mask.

This piece also appeared in Volume 2, Issue 1 of Gonzo Parenting Zine. Order your copy here!

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