Queer diary

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When I was a baby, my mom tried to feed me a banana. I turned my head. She tried mashed banana, a stinking paste that made me gag; she tried cutting it into chunks; she tried those oily banana chips you get in bulk from the grocery store, but I pushed it away. Scrunched my nose and stuck out my tongue. I spat.

In high school, we moved to Maine, where I lived until I was in my late twenties. Maine has the highest per capita banana consumption of any state. Cheryl had a sturdy torso and muscled arms; long, frizzy gray hair; a cramped office in a turret with a round window that looked over the ocean. She had a passion for compost, for Norway, for nitrogen-fixing nodules and for sweet peas, for soil mycology and rain. She had a house in town where she lived with her partner, Carolyn.

The banana fact surprised me, and disgusted me. What are you doing, Maine? You have some of the oldest queer diary varieties around. You have strange little kiwis and the only lowbush blueberries in the contiguous United States. Why do you want bananas? Sickly sweet and poison. Before Cheryl was my teacher and before I even knew about the kiwis, I was crying on a beach in winter, my bare fingers gripping ice-slick rocks, my thin-boned body shaking. I had just returned from a UN climate change conference in Nairobi, after a semester studying global environmental politics during which every silver vein of hope snaking my body was drawn dry by the leech of despair.

I started college believing that politics could solve climate queer diary. I thought that negotiation between international delegates in crisp suits could produce concerted action. A group of us who called ourselves activists went to the UN climate change conference in Nairobi in There, the delegates from wealthy nations were elaborate in their dodges. In their greedy fingers, language became nonbinding. Emptied of meaning by the brackets around it.

I decided I was wrong, about politics and hope.

Plants are better than people, I thought. Cheryl was the reason I thought plants were cool, and she was the reason I learned how to grow them. Pulling sugar queer diary peas from their hollow tendrils, talking softly through the trellis netting to my friend Lily on the other side of the bed who is telling me about kissing a girl. Our knees wet from the oat grass that serves as a living mulch in the pathways, our caps pulled low to block the sun, that pastel-yellow light of 6 a.

I thought I would use this earth to bury, but she nudges me to grow from it instead. But never will you see me touch a banana. Cheryl did eat bananas; she accepted some things. Carolyn did too, of course. The garden they shared was overgrown with blackberry canes and Concord grape vines, sour fruits that could be sweet, if picked in that moment between and p. Could be made into jam or wine, could be made into love or wives. I watched the two of them together, my eyes drawn to them like birds to a pome fruit.

There was something impossibly sweet about the way they sometimes linked arms, or one of them tucked hair behind the ear of the other. Carolyn worked as a park ranger at Acadia National Park and looked the other way when we rode in on our bikes without paying the fee.

She loved riding her bike too, and she and Cheryl went on long rides together. One morning in early spring she rode the park queer diary road with me, in that window of time after the snow melted and before it opened to cars. I was a senior and had spent the last four years growing more endemic to that rocky northern coast. That spring day with Carolyn, I watched her hair. She turned her face into the wind and breathed deeply.

The sun lit every surface of rock and pine and calm ripple of water. I had to squint. A nontraditional student, like you. But older than you.

Could she see I had sprouted only from a withered rhizome? I did have a crush on her queer diary. It felt private. I was cycling around mountains but I was also lying still under carefully laid topsoil—doing my best not to disrupt. For my edible botany class, I wrote a long, embellished paper about the imperial history of vanilla and the improbable alchemy of its mass production.

Vanilla is finicky, even more so than temperature-precise tomatoes or delicate, disease-prone herbs like basil, or soft berries that ripen at one specific moment in July and will be either too sour or too mealy if harvested one or two minutes on either side of that moment. They do not adapt; they demand. Vanilla is a hermaphroditic plant, but a membrane separating the anther and stigma prevents self-pollination.

Bees do that job, but they need to be special bees, because vanilla has standards. The seeds of a vanilla orchid also need special mycorrhizal fungi in order to germinate. Bananas, on the other hand, reproduce asexually, which is something they have going for them. Only crabapples are actually native to Turtle Island also known as North Americabut the range of cultivars or varieties and the fact that they are suited to a temperate climate are two reasons why I like apples better than bananas.

The matter queer diary them tasting better goes without saying. But commercial banana production, like so much commodity farming, relies on a single cultivar—Cavendish. It is no surprise that the colonial history, and present, of banana production is particularly egregious. Exploitation and massacre of both people and land is a hallmark of all large-scale agriculture, and bananas carry an ugly part of that reality in their pale yellow bodies. Apples are somewhere between vanilla and bananas. They put colonial roots in this soil, and they are prone to lots of diseases and pests, leading many orchardists to apply large amounts of toxic pesticides and fungicides to their trees.

But apples can also take some shit. They can reproduce sexually, but apple seeds are extreme heterozygotes, which is also my gender. This means that an apple grown from seed can be so different from its parent fruit that you have no idea how it will look, smell, taste, or grow.

I like to think that kind of possibility exists in my own body, that it exists in all of us. To defy predictability. Not to fall far from queer diary tree, necessarily, but to be our own tree. Every apple is a unicorn with thick skin and sweet insides, but not too sweet. This kind of diversity is the enemy of commercial agriculture and white-supremacist cis-hetero ableist patriarchy. Grafting eliminates the guesswork; the branch already has the kind of apple they want.

Stick it on a trunk, and it will tap into the xylem and phloem. Because apples do adapt. They will grow there. They come from scarred heartwood; they will do what it takes. I went to graduate school for agriculture in Denmark is one of my homelands, the only one I can rightfully claim, to the extent land can be claimed. My entire maternal family lives there, except my mom.

She lives in a house on an island in Maine, with two untamed crabapple trees in the yard. The Danes love a sleek line. This is also true when it comes to nature. Trees in parks are made into boxy topiaries. They were planted in neat rows, their growth trained in a certain direction, their trunks at nearly ninety-degree angles, branches pruned, tied to their trellis.

All were grafted, so as to be predictable and, better yet, marketable. Sometimes after class, I walked the grassy rows, tracing my fingers along the curved spines of those trees. I thought about how almost all modern agriculture is like this. Efficiency and predictability are key to mass production, and even small-scale agriculture must operate under these principles for both corporeal and capitalist survival. I struggle with this, with knowing that the genetic mystery of an apple for example is its greatest possibility and its greatest threat. The threat goes two ways: The new apple, if it grew out of control, could topple the structures that tie it down.

Or, the farmer could queer diary the apple.

I sometimes rode my bike to that campus, an hour ride on flat road. No mountains queer diary. I needed to think, because something was budding in me. I had tried once again to date a boy, and I knew finally that I would queer diary try again. He was sweet and kind, we went to the movies, he made me vegetarian lasagna, and the whole time I kept thinking, wrong wrong wrong. I walked the orchard and thought, maybe I just need to date a woman. I stared at those bent trees with their light green leaves as if they might have an answer.

I did try to date women and femmes too. I tried first while I was still in Copenhagen, met up with a dozen of them, and met one of my best friends that way. It felt better, but something still felt off. I thought, It must be the language barrier. I am conversant in Danish but English is the only language I feel like I know for real. I came back to the states and I tried dating women again.

What was wrong with me? I have been drawn to women my whole life. Cheryl and Carolyn were magic to me.

Queer diary

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