“To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves.” – Mohandas K. Gandhi
For some creatures, gardening is instinctive and in most cases incidental – or is it? Bees spend their entire lives inadvertently pollinating flowers while collecting nectar. Birds plant thousands of new trees and plants each year while spreading the seeds of fruits and nuts. As a human race we seem to garden for leisurely purposes. Taking pleasure in planting, nurturing and creating an outdoor space to cherish its beauty. But is there something more primal and innate happening here? Is it our basic human need to connect with the earth that results in us spending hours gardening?
There is undoubtedly a great amount of joy found in nurturing for a small plant or seed and watching in grow and develop into something strong and beautiful under our tender care and supervision.
Any gardener will testify the healing nature of gardening. The sheer delight that comes from giving into this innate urge makes me question if there is a part of us that is driven to return to the earth that we derive from, and to be at one again with the natural world. Or perhaps we too like the bees and birds, are performing our part in the natural cycle unaware of our role in this great big spectacle.
The instinct and passion for gardening is our primitive response to nature, which would explain why throughout history people have made efforts to manipulate their environment into a beautiful display. However you don’t always have to get your hands dirty. It is possible to be a spectator of gardens, but I would highly recommend cultivating a domestic patch for yourself – far more rewarding. Through tending for plants you have a ‘through the looking glass moment’ gaining knowledge of seasonal changes and witnessing the seemingly tiny events of a plants lifecycle resulting in a timeless appreciation for our botanical world.
Too often we adopt and lead big lives and forget our natural world. Bring yourself back to nature by considering how your senses help you relate to your environment. There is much to learn from being attentive to the seasons and lifecycles of plants. You can tune into your natural surroundings everyday by taking a mindful garden walk or digging a little deeper with your plant knowledge.
Until next entry,