Sunday, March 08, 2009

Why I am a gardener.

Life is more complex than we can imagine.

I plant a seed that I can barely see, and it sets root, grows leaves, and exists only to flower and produce more seeds. But this plant is more complex than this. DNA allows this plant to convert sunlight into energy, and energy into chemistry.

And oh, what a chemistry.

Most plants are nutritious in some way, containing vitamins, proteins, minerals, and other building blocks for the animal body. The problem is, many plants are toxic when consumed. Thus, the herbivorous and omnivorous animals of the Earth develop manners to deduce food from poison. The deer do this, as well as the apes. Humans are no different.

Plants are amazing genetic beings, if for no other reason than they provide a world suitable for animal life. And there are so, so many of them, more than modern science can classify. Thus, gardening is not just about caring for plants. Gardening is a ritualistic living metaphor that seeks to understand the basis of all animal life while also seeking the mysteries of the vast unknown.

Don't get me wrong, caring for and about plants is a big part of the living process. When a plant is thirsty, the gardener provides water. When the plant is hungry, the gardener provides food. In return, if health allows, the plant blooms in a slow motion burst of vibrant color and geometric design that never fails to attract the aesthetics of the eye... or more importantly, the Mind.

Just as a flower blooms with vibrant color and geometric symmetry, so too does the human mind. The flower flushes with precisely organized chemistry, some of which we perceive as color, scent, and taste. The human mind flushes with a strikingly similar chemistry, some of which we perceive as consciousness. I have yet to fully grasp the beauty of that kind of ontological complexity, but I know this to be true, that plants are very important, and we know very little about the nature of them. Then again, we still don't know all that much about the nature of us.

So, in a not so out-of-the-box way, gardening is about seeking a better understanding of our human past, the evolution of human consciousness, the foundation of all animal life on Earth, and the mysteries of the vast unknown.

Oh, and those plants are frickin' cool too.


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