I learned how to be a gardener this season, but I also, more importantly, learned how to envision a simpler life. A life where I grew what I needed. A life that valued the power of good soil over the shine of a dime. A life that supported local farmer’s markets and not supermarkets. A life that sustained itself on vegetables and grains and not industrialized meat products. I could finally see that it could be done, that I could do it, and that it was about time.
I immediately had an overwhelming urge to relocate somewhere that allowed me to have my own garden. So I did. Here I am, three months later, living with my boyfriend in a little one-room cabin in the woods of Gilsum, NH with a plot of land for me to plant whatever I wish. We sold or gave away almost everything we owned from the old second-story apartment in downtown Keene (with the exception of our books, which we just couldn’t work up the guts to part with) and don’t miss any of it a bit. We needed to simplify, and then simplify some more.
As a gardener, I was given an opportunity to connect with my community and with my regional environment in a way that I never before had. The realization of it all, the abrupt collision of my current way of life with the one my eyes were opening up to, was momentous. I realized with an almost panic that I had to do things differently. I could see how unimaginative I had previously been, how much I had to learn and unlearn in order to live a better existence. My idealistic morals of the past had no reason to stay idealistic when I had the capacity to make them happen. I have since made steady strides towards a more imagined life, but still have a ways to go. There is so much I’m excited to learn and experience, there is so much room for my roots to grow into this bountiful soil. I am truly grateful for this past season for helping me gain this new enthusiasm for life and I look forward to all the gardening to come.