A dear friend of mine has spent—and continues to spend—a portion of his free time cultivating a vegetable garden. Nothing short of a private horticultural marvel, it has yielded large and delicious victuals that have resulted in tasty creations. Although impressive, perhaps I’m talking this humble garden up too much. When speaking about vegetation destined for consumption, especially when discussing food in general, it’s easy to regurgitate gobs of meretricious superlatives which more often than not appear so contrived that they would even confuse the diamond-encrusted gurus of the world. Speaking of superlatives, I also immediately think of Louis C.K. and his skit about us going for the “top-shelf” words. But I digress.
My friend derives quite a bit of pride and joy from this little plot of land, carefully tending to the various vegetables and herbs, and planning dishes based on the days harvest. All mortals that have never beheld the garden are promptly given a tour and are generously offered vegetables to take home. One could say that the garden gives material form to my friend’s kindness and generosity. These wonderful qualities are further exemplified in the meals prepared for friends and family utilizing the home-grown ingredients.
It’s quaint and endearing that my friend has found such a satisfying recreation and I can’t help but feel happiness and gratification. It is truly wonderful.
To me, there is something particularly striking about the gardening. It hearkens back to the time when humans first attempted agriculture and started contemplating permanent structures. A time when one did not have to expend all one’s energy hunting. (What a fucking intense time that must have been?) Instead, some of one’s energy could be utilized for innovation and creativity, to slow down in order that the breadth and depth of the world could be admired and relished.
I think it is important to establish a simple yet fulfilling activity. Whether it be tending a modest garden, crafting goods in a workshop, fostering animals, forging, or amassing a humble library (and reading its contents), I think it is important to briefly detach from the technologically advanced world (an interesting idea I posit considering I am a blogger dependent on advanced technology). And by advanced technology, I don’t mean books, plumbing, agriculture, Gatorade, chicken-fried bacon, and toilet paper. I am referring to the internet, cell phones, and the near-infinite gadgets that are churned out on a daily basis that have literally overrun us and our society. One would embark on a difficult journey in search for a human living in the developed world for whom advanced technology is not integral to their existence.
Despite referring to the simplicity of various activities, I don’t mean to say that the activity is easy to perform. Some recreational activities obviously require more skill than others; I only urge that the activity be divorced from mobile devices and obnoxious headphones. Simple activities afford one time to think, reflect, and plan things out—if not the opposite of simple, certainly a step towards intricacy and complexity. Playing chess in a park (something that I have always wished to do) seems like a great place to hone one’s chess skills and strike up some nourishing dialogue.
I wonder how the world would change if everyone took a few steps away from their gadgets and immersed themselves in simpler pastimes. Can we survive as we currently do, bathed in advanced technology? Can we strive to partake in more recreations uncomplicated by gadgets? Or will we bend the knee to a veritable Skynet?