“All Men Are Kings Before Potatoes.” This has become something of a catch phrase for me, lately. I'm a gardener at heart, you see, so it is a natural expression of that pastime.
Few activities are as fulfilling as gardening. It is simple, often laborious work, but it gives you time to think and the results are immediate. Sinking a spade into the soil and turning the earth offers "real-time" feedback; the smell of the soil, the twinge as unused muscles awaken - your results are timely and visible. The Earth does not complain or talk back, either. It knows nothing of negativity... you work, it complies. Simple, basic.
It should be no surprise that I am inspired by Henry David Thoreau and his classic work, "Walden." In that book, Thoreau left the hectic, burdened world of 'civilized' people to live a simple agrarian life, without trappings. What his experiment ultimately proved was that whether you're a king or pauper, rich man or poor, you are on equal footing with the soil.
Gardens also are the epitome of dreams, since they are dreams, realized. All gardeners are planners and people of vision. They schedule, organize and endlessly rotate the features of their garden, manipulating the earth for one goal: TO prepare it for the greatness to come. By deliberately making their visions bear fruit, they hold in their hands the core of all achievement.
Turning the earth to cultivate your own food, is the purest distillation of the Human Charter I talk so often about. That Charter, to "GO, DO and BECOME" is at the core of every garden.
You GO out to the earth, laid before you and embrace it. There is no sitting down and hoping with the garden... you must get up and go there.
You DO, by planting and watering, cultivating and nurturing until it produces that which sustains you. "Garden" is an action word.
In doing all this, you BECOME far more than if you had you simply dreamed and wished for something to have occurred. It is the culmination of vision and applied effort, the highest purpose man can attain.
At the same time, it is a very fulfilling purpose. You see, it is all up to you.
In the garden, you are generally alone and it succeeds only because you make it work... or fail to.
It is the glorious paradox of the garden that this basic, unfettered work makes it such a life-changing force. Often, people scorn the garden as oafish, or arcane - but nothing is farther from the truth. What they cannot see is that in calling forth the powers of the Earth, you fulfill the core need of all humanity to GO, DO and BECOME. In the garden you meet the expectations of all society to do something useful with yourself..
SO, if you are feeling like you are wasting your life, getting nowhere or are unfocused, don't buy another self-help CD, or pay for another session with some "guru." Instead, shed these things, go dig in the soil and plant some tomatoes!
You will find that you are refreshed in both body and spirit and will see things in a vastly different way.