MOONBASE THETA, OUT – S2 Bonus Episode 1 – “Nessa”
by D.J. Sylvis
(We hear the standard chime that bookends a personal message in S2. For a moment afterwards, we hear the background sounds of the Base farm, leaves rustling and water running. After a moment, Nessa muses to herself.)
… and that is why you don’t let your tardigrade friends play in the germination beds. Not that our focus is on new growth these days.
(she laughs awkwardly, remembering the recording)
Umm, speaking of new growth … hey there, kiddos! Little emergency with the resident wildlife. I suppose that’s something you’ll have to deal with eventually in your own gardens! Though maybe not in quite the same ways. Anyhoo!
That’s a word my friend Wilder uses, I’m stealing it from her. It sounded like something you young’uns would enjoy – almost as much as when I call you young’uns! Anyhoo, hi. I’m back. Your dorkiest and most long-distance parent. How are things going down there on Earth? Are you doing your homework? Are you eating good food?
(brief pause, we hear leaves rustle)
In a few months, the question might be, are you growing good food? Your Auntie Elena told me that you – some of you – have asked about starting gardens of your own. So she asked me – she was a little bit insistent, you might want to give her some space now and then – asked if I could give you some tips on how to get started. So here I am, sending down a few pointer-roonies from the Moon to your tender ears! Pay attention, get your fingers out of there, and leave your sibs be for a minute while we talk!
(she settles in)
It’s important that you choose a good spot for your garden, that’s the first step. And I mean, there’s boring grown-up stuff about drainage and soil acidity that you can let us worry about for now, just … find a little plot that you like, where you feel at home. Not too close to someone else’s if you can help it! Give each other space as much as you can. You can share, sharing is important, but so is having a place of your own.
Sit down, feel the earth beneath your butt, the breeze on your face, push your fingers into the dirt if you want to. You’re gonna be in there a lot, get to know how it feels.
(we hear her munching on a piece of fruit)
I hope you brought snacks with you today! These berries are pretty sweet, I wish I could share. Which leads me on to what comes next. You have to pick what you want to plant! There are so many options, we can get seeds for just about anything and so much of it works where we live. Sunflowers, snow peas, pumpkins, nasturtiums, green onions, bok choy … choose something you like, something that will feed you – and not just in the ways you might expect! Colours can feed you, the curl of the shoots sprouting up from the ground feeds your sense of wonder … look at the pictures in the catalogue, think about what you love best, pick something you’ll enjoy.
Then, get those seeds in the ground! They aren’t doing you any good in the packets. Elena will tell you which tools you should use – and I’ll tell Elena, so she shouldn’t worry too much either – but follow the rules and get things into the ground so they can grow. So you can watch them grow! So you can care for them and help them become what they want to be. You’re their garden parents now, weed and water and fertilize, tell them stories if you want, sing to them if you want – I sing around my garden all the time – get in close. When I was your age, I used to camp out next to my garden at night, wrap up a blanket burrito and listen – I thought I could hear my plants springing up if I listened really close. I didn’t want to miss a thing.
(she takes a moment to remember, breathing in and out)
I don’t want to spend too much time on the actual process, it’s different depending on what you decide to grow. But you’ve got to do the work. Use good tools, but don’t forget to get your hands in there, too. I know some of you don’t mind playing in the dirt! Get in there, feel it all, let yourself be a part of things. Gardening isn’t something you sit and watch happen – you get in there and grow with it. I’m so envious of each of you, experiencing that for the very first time from beginning to end. I can’t wait to see you enjoy the fruits – and vegetables, and flowers – of your labour!
It’s okay if you find you don’t like it; if you don’t like the work or the smell of the dirt. It’s okay if you don’t like every fruit and vegetable we grow, though I hope you’ll give them a try before you decide. It’s important to feel that cycle, to live in tune with your body and your world, but that doesn’t mean you have to do, or look, or eat, or feel the same way as anyone else. Some of you might feel most yourselves in the house, in front of a screen or inside a senssurround, and those are good things too. I hope you’ll find something positive in gardening, but it doesn’t have to be the center of your life the way I’ve made it mine. You can try it, and if it’s not you check that off the list and move on to something else. Although secret tip – sometimes it’s good to come back to that list and revisit a few of the things you checked off before. We keep changing.
(she pauses for a moment, trying to find the best words)
Some plants grow in ways you don’t expect, and sometimes by letting them grow, you make the most interesting discoveries. Some plants … and some kiddos I happen to know. Pay attention to what you love and what you need, dig down deep and tend to those things. Cultivate yourself.
(she kinda feels she’s gotten off track, but goes with it)
It’s important to eat things that build you up, but it’s okay to find joy in junk food, too. It’s important to move your body, to be active in the ways you can, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a jock like your mother Lili. It’s important to love yourself every way you are, every way you grow, step by step through any changes you might make, and even if those changes don’t work out, or you decide to change back.
(she laughs a bit self-consciously)
I know, you’re probably wondering what happened to talking about your gardens.
(she pauses, takes a breath)
The most important part of it all is to nurture and love every growing thing that you possibly can. Starting with yourself – and coming back to yourself, don’t just start with you and leave it there – but then looking to your sibs and friends and cousins, even me and your other parents! Even your non-human friends – Mi Mi, I know she’s getting old and cranky and hisses a lot, but she needs you. And the puppies and the hamsters and old Sisyphus and all the birds that visit the orchard. And definitely all the things you bring to life yourself, that you’ve had a part bringing into the world. That’s such a special, particularly wonderful relationship. You don’t want to miss it.
I hope all this helps. You know how your Nessa-Mom tends to go on, especially when I’m talking about my garden, and the gardens that you might make. I love thinking of all the ways you’re going to make things grow. Including, of course, your lovely selves.
I better get back to work here, so much to do and not so much time. But it’s been wonderful talking to you. Take care, young’uns, don’t be too hard on your Auntie Elena today. I can’t wait to be back there, to see you all again. I can’t wait to see your gardens. Bye for now, Daya, Anthony, Leah, Mei-Ling, Starshine, Tina, Shiloh, Eugene, Ely, Ysa, and Robin. I love you all.
(We hear the chime that bookends a personal log message. The episode ends.)