Posts tagged ‘vandalism’

Dirt Therapy – Part 2

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I find gardening to be very therapeutic. But, life isn’t perfect, and sometimes therapy isn’t very uplifting or enjoyable – though it often remains enlightening. What I didn’t write about then was the reality that sometimes gardening can make you want to pull your hair out. Tonight was one of those nights.

I arrived at the community garden around 7 o’clock and immediately noticed something was wrong. The gate was mangled and the four beautiful eggplants I had showed my mom on Sunday were gone. As I investigated further, I realized most of the tomatillos had been removed from their stems and the few pepper plants that had survived the last bit of vandalism had not escaped destruction this go ’round. Soon a few kids came over and offered names of culprits and suggestions of motives, and we learned a neighbor had seen the damage taking place and took photos of those responsible, but little was to be done tonight except to clean up the mess. Fortunately the beans had been ignored and a couple kids went home with enough to make for dinner.

Vandalism, especially of community things, has never been something I’ve understood. Maybe I’m naive, but this kind of destruction just never added up in the “making sense” category of life. So, when it happens in a place I feel directly connected to, it is hard to not take it personally. But I must also remind myself that this garden is about the community and not me as an individual, so I find I am only sad, not angry. I think one of many things influencing my disappointment is that there is a person, or persons, who doesn’t see the value of the garden and the opportunities it can provide. The chance to learn more about our food, how to cook it, how it grows and how to have patience while the fruits mature.

Unfortunately, I don’t think patience is something many people have these days. We have little patience in traffic – road rage anyone? We have little patience with slow internet or lines at the store. And we have very little patience for being told we cannot do what we want. Some times I think if we all learned how to garden as kids that we might have a little more patience. It is impossible to grow beets well without the patience to thin them, and leaving an almost ripe tomato on the vine requires the restraint of a saint.

So, how do we learn to be patient? How do we learn to leave anger and frustration at the garden gate and move at the pace of an earthworm? I believe it is really a community effort – requiring all – and until we realize that, it will be very difficult. We have a very me-centric society and it is hurting our ability to function. We may think we are “self made” and “independent,” but when was the last time you did anything that didn’t involve another human being?  If you wore clothing, ate food or used any sort of transportation today, you will realize that we cannot do it alone. And if we look in the garden, we know that the tomatoes know this too. They cannot fruit without healthy soil, abundant water and sun, motivated pollinators and a whole host of microfauna and flora doing their job underground. Similarly, the kids at our garden need guidance, nurturing and positive examples. And they especially need our patience and listening ears.

See, I told you therapy was at least enlightening.

August 9, 2011 at 11:29 pm 2 comments


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