On my way home from work, I listen to NPR. They are winding down their This I Believe series which is sad. This series gives me hope for the human race...that we aren't a bunch of uncaring idiots. If you haven't heard of it, you should definitely check it out.
To make this relevant to THIS blog, I thought I'd ramble about what I've learned from gardening. So, here it is:
I believe humans need a connection to the earth. Most of us wake up in our man-made house and drive in our man-made car to work (which is in man-made building) on man-made roads which have been made by clearing trees and relocating wildlife. For lunch we eat genetically modified food or overly processed food. The closest thing many of us get to "nature" is our lawn which in many regions of the country is completely unnatural. We soldier on in our man-made surroundings thinking everything is OK, that our lives are full.
And they are in a man-centric sense. We've got the best things (wo)man has created: comfortable shelter, machines that get us from point A to point B without any effort by us and food which we do not need to do anything to, save nuking in the microwave.
But, what about all the stuff that was around before we patented walking upright? We're missing out on all THAT stuff. Only interacting with stuff "we" made is kinda like living a "half-life."
The satisfaction of watching your food grow is amazing. Did you know that tomato plants have a unique smell to them? It's sorta "earthy" but bright. Peppers and other vegetables in that family don't have that smell; it seems to be unique to the tomato. Did you know that blueberry bushes can be huge? Like 6 feet tall! Or that scented geraniums can smell like roses, apples, cinnamon or limes? By gardening you're connecting to nature virtually everyday, even if it's just a bunch of containers of herbs on your windowsill.
I've found that, by gardening, I'm outside more. I get more exercise (lugging bags of compost or digging something up is hard work!). Additionally, I've found that I notice more of my surroundings. Driving through my neighborhood I've noticed new plants and trees. I'm positive they were always there, I just was too wrapped up in "man-made" concerns that I didn't notice. Also, I find that I can more about sustainability, as well as reduce/reuse/recycle. I mean, I don't want to muck up soil, air and water that help me grow my food and flowers.
I believe, in short, that a little dirt under your fingernails could do you, and the world, some good.