Generally, people don’t care about gardening. They don’t. It’s true. Think about it. Wouldn’t you rather just pay someone to cut your grass? Install your new landscape? Even trim your roses?
We spend so much time working or recreating or relaxing that we have no time left to dedicate to gardening. Gardening really isn’t work. It’s not a true recreation. And, most of the time, it’s certainly not relaxing. Gardening is simply that. Gardening.
Gardening is its own task. It’s unique within itself. Sure there is some work involved. Sometimes it might be recreative and certain moments can involve a sense of relaxation. It’s the combination of all of these aspects that makes it so unique.
There was a time when gardening was a common necessity of life. The growing of foods within a garden was required for survival. That time has long since been forgotten. Or, better yet, that time has long since been abandoned. In our search for a more efficient and simple lifestyle, we have allowed others to grow our food, bring them to market, and trade our hard earned greenbacks for the fruits of life. “Let someone else grow it,” we said. “We can work in our offices during the day, recreate at night, and purchase food at the market.”
Simple enough. It’s downright “free market,” really. The grower wants cash. We want fruits and vegetables. A fair trade.
We lost something quite important, however, once this fair trade was made. The end goal of gardening is neither the flower nor the fruit. The flower, the fruit are merely the products of a process. A process which is as natural to a human being as breathing or walking. Gardening is about the process of self-accomplishment. The very one who created us, He Himself grew a garden. A garden, in which, he was well pleased. Likewise, we have a longing ourself to feel accomplished. To begin with soil, to sow the seed, to tend the plant, and then, as if in a glorious concluding stanza, procure a ripened fruit from the Earth. All of this, combined, produces accomplishment.
This no longer is the case, however. We now busy ourselves to the point of sickness just to cash our checks at the end of the week. We drive to market, pick out the ripest product on the table, drive home, consume the product, and our bellies are full. Now on for more work.
In this model, a bite cannot be relished. It’s rushed. A fruit cannot be coveted. It’s consumed. A disconnect then is formed between our hands and our mouths. Our mouths would devour the fruit more satisfyingly if the hands had cared for it through drought, rain, weeding, etc. But atlas, it wasn’t our hands that cared for the fruit. It was some field hand. We have nothing at stake in this model- only simple nourishment.
Until the past few decades, food was rarely purchased. It was grown. It was raised. It was never bought. This is who we are now- consumers. The thrill of consuming is merely temporary. It’s fleeting. It might last for a while but the pleasure of consuming wears off. A better life would be growing. Growing combines the thrill of consumption with the satisfaction of effort. Biting into a delicious fruit gives a kind of high. But biting into a delicious fruit grown by ones own hands provides, simply, joy.
Getting back to gardening can bring about many intimidating thoughts. Thoughts of killing innocent plants can burden us to our core. But it will be okay. Killing is learning and the more we learn, the more we can grow; and the more we can grow, the more we can enjoy. In 2018, make getting back to gardening your Number One Garden Resolution.