I became a gardener in order to experience nature daily, in order to live in a wilder way. Being wild is the opposite of being isolated. It is an experience of oneness with a vast, complex, diverse, accepting community of living plants and animals.
Isolation is sitting motionless in a climate-controlled, artificially lit house, staring at a screen, oblivious to the life being lived around me – the spider in the corner, the ants building kingdoms under the patio stones, the dove weaving a nest in the pine tree on the corner, the fox snuggled with her kits in a den down by the river, the desert shrub seedling sinking its roots into the soil of the neighbor’s horse pasture, the massive 500-year-old oak that was just felled two miles away to make room for a new subdivision.
My garden is part of my struggle against isolation. I choose not to be cut off from all that other life. I take time every day to actively experience what I think of as The Real World.
I’m aware that it’s a rare luxury to be able to spend periods of time ignoring the human-centered world of intangibles: rules of etiquette, monetary systems, streams of data. I am thankful every day that I have the freedom to regularly remove myself from it and to bask in the stream of sensory events happening in The Real World.