Gardeners tend to spend a lot of time with a shovel in the ground digging and covering up. Making sure seeds are laid comfortably to rest bends the neck forward and the care that we give to the earth tends to take its toll on the broad perspectives that often help us understand why we do what we do. Shoulders bent to the ground, we look at the holes we dig, lay the seed gently in the ground, and cover them back up. To grow your own food is a revolutionary act, but to understand why we must revolt, why it is imperative to grow our own food, takes the willingness to look up at the sun that makes what we do possible and why we must do it.
One of the most freeing things I’ve ever read was that gardening is a revolutionary act. But like all meaningful endeavors, it comes at a cost. Sometimes, to remind myself of this, I go out in the garden late at night and look up. I always think about when the stars were considered “holes” in the cloak of the sky-ceiling; the light coming down from heaven. Sometimes I felt like the small seeds that I covered diligently with soil only to get excited when they reappeared as a one small and ever so slight leaf on a shivering stem.
How is it that revolutions start? With one, small act while all the time remembering what that act stands for and why we do it. As David Blume stated in the Los Angeles Times, “By being an organic farmer, you fly in the face of every part of the power structure,” Blume said. “Refusing to use chemicals, refusing to use genetically modified seeds–it’s a real act of defiance.” And what better reason to garden?
Give it to “the Man”; plant a tomato! Screw the corporations that siphon our freedoms, and buy a chipper/shredder! Save and trade seeds, and save human history from the Monsanto’s of the world! Do all of these things and do them proudly, but always remember why you do them: look up and be awed by nature in order to understand why revolting against almost everything we’ve been taught is so important. The corporations are the result of people forgetting to look up every once in a while.
Albert Camus once wrote that nothing will matter in a million years, and that is probably true, but revolutions do not think about futures; they act in the present. What better thing can we do than to do what we know is right, and know why we do what we do. There is nothing more gratifying than doing the right thing except for knowing why it is right.
So, look up every once in a while, while kneeling at the alter of the earth. Plant those seeds that you’ve saved and then lay in the grass dreaming of a day when we are all revolutionaries.