Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Really There (Really Here)

I exhale as I walk to pull a tomato from the vine in the backyard. That's the carbon footprint of this tomato. Well, maybe that's an overstatement. I hauled the soil to the yard with my truck, but still, that soil will be in these beds for many years so that impact will balance out over time. 

There's nothing like walking out back to pick your next meal. Looking closer to home to meet my needs is teaching me a lot. The smallest spaces contain the universe. The smallest yard shelters insects, birds, and beasts that we too often distance ourselves from. I've got, at best, about another 70 years on this earth. The soil here grew peaches and apples a century before I was born. The offspring of these groundhogs will probably be battling some well meaning gardener long after I'm gone.

This garden helps clarify that everything we're looking for out there isn't out there. Laying in the hammock in the tree in our side yard can feel like a hammock in Guatemala or Costa Rica. The relaxed mind that I had in those places wasn't a product of those places. The tomato isn't exclusively grown in Mexico, or spinach in California. And laying in a hammock in South Jersey with the sun filtering through a magnolia feels just as good as being under a palm in Panama, as long as you are really there. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I will wake up tomorrow and not be superhuman

Most nights I go to sleep with undone tasks weighing me down. I trick myself into believing that the next day I will wake up at 3:30 in the morning and be superhuman. Tomorrow none of my insecurities will stop me form doing what's best, I won't be lazy, cranky, tired, or allow hunger to make me irrational. I will move from task to task, happy and productive

In reality the next morning I wake up, frustrated with myself from the day before. Frustrated with the jerk who piled all of this weight on my back, and resentful. Out of spite I ignore the list that this ogre of last night has made, and instead I groggily distract myself on Facebook or read a blog. I eventually stumble out the door, a few minutes late for an appointment, and pissed at the me of twenty minutes ago. 

I face the same troubles in our garden. In Walden, Thoreau talks about how a small garden plot can serve you, but on a large farm one can serve time as if it's a prison. When planning my garden this year I convinced myself that I would be excited to get out there every morning and tend to it. I made too many beds too quickly and planted some things that I regularly use too far back on the property. Some days I am excited to get into the garden before the sun rises, but often my ever changing moods  turn against me and our garden. I am learning though, however slowly. Next year I may go a bit easier on my future self. 

Slowly I'm learning that wisdom is not always some ancient esoteric knowledge passed down on stone or papyrus, but is often the simple realization, after years of banging my head against a wall, that banging my head against the wall really hurts. Tomorrow morning I may wake up at 4 am, stoked to pull weeds under the rising sun. It is an amazing experience! Other days though, I will hit snooze until 10 minutes before I walk out the door. I will stumble through the house, confused, rushed, and utterly human.