Push through the asphalt and cement


The photo above was taken by JB in our backyard. For the past 3 or 4 years, I have been planting old books around the garden, some of them from the days when I was teaching. There is something very satisfying about watching them turn back into earth over the seasons. This particular book on Reconstruction, The Bloody Shirt, has been decomposing for about two years now and a few days ago we saw the peonies reclaim it. The peony is growing right through what is left of its spine. I think you know the kind of energy I’m talking about. We see it all the time. Plants growing through asphalt and cement, trees growing “through” chain-link fences, roots working their way between brick, demonstrating an organic power that continually amazes us.

It is spring. For just over a week now. Spring is the time for renewal. Resurrection. Breaking out of our winter cocoons moving us into the doing, the planting, the external pushing and building. Sheltering in place has certainly put a new spin on this seasonal urge.

In Chinese medicine, the energy of spring is dominated by the element of Wood which is represented by a tree growing upward from a small seed, its branches exploding outward. There is a physical and emotional urgency about the power of Wood characterized by the two organ systems associated with it — Liver and Gallbladder. These meridians have to do with having and holding a vision and the literal carrying out of those plans and dreams.

Being contained and isolated may have some of us hunkering down, working from home via digital formats, accessing entertainment, using social media. We are  being creative in innumerable ways to better connect with others, to express ourselves, and to support others within our reach. In this season of doing and activating, growing and expanding, flourishing and increasing, let us also see what seeds we might plant in the wider world to help those who do not have shelter, do not have easy or affordable access to food, do not have adequate healthcare to support them. Donating money is certainly one way to help if we have the means, but donating time is another, through advocacy via phone calls and social media postings, through the supporting of mutual aid networks, and through more involvement in the next election.

Being isolated does not mean being trapped. Just like that peony above, and innumerable other examples of nature pushing through the pavement, let us use our expansive energies to push beyond our doors and reach into our common spaces, to support each other through this pandemic and beyond. Let’s attach our wills to making our visions of a better world manifest. Push through the asphalt and cement!


A few suggested actions are listed below. There are plenty more. Please add any other worthy ideas and organizations in your comments. We are all in this together!

Doctors without Borders. An awesome international NGO started in France, to provide medical aid and life-saving humanitarian care where it is needed most.

Feeding America.  You can find your local food pantry through this site and can contribute to it financially or with actual food or access its provisions if you and your family need food.

GoFundMe  This crowd funding source has started a special section on their site, Fundraising for Coronavirus Relief: How you can help the fight, which provides a variety of many different specific venues/ people/ causes to support.

Indivisible This organization’s mission is to “cultivate a grassroots movement of literally thousands of local Indivisible groups to elect progressive leaders, realize bold progressive policies, rebuild our democracy, and defeat the Trump agenda,” with ideas about community building and actions to take during the coronavirus.

This entry was posted in activism, Chinese medicine, garden, nature and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Push through the asphalt and cement

  1. mhorvich says:

    Love you and your insights!

  2. Jerome B.Bloom says:


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