My wife started a garden a few years ago. I've started feeling more comfortable helping out and getting involved. This year we expanded a bunch. We're growing green beans, cucumbers, green onions, carrots, lettuce, kale, asparagus, blueberries, strawberries, assorted peppers...a whole bunch of delicious stuff.
Anyway, throughout this process I've come to realize that it has changed a perspective I didn't even realize I held.
For the past 5 years I've lived in a small town on a one-lane, dead-end street carved out of the woods at the foot of a small mountain. The house is surrounded by many acres of woods. For most of that time, I've - without really realizing it - been feeling like I've been fighting nature. Which was a crazy realization to have because I love nature.
I moved here because I used to always be driving out to this area to hike on and around the mountain I now live next to. It was over an hour drive from where I lived before. Now it's less than a mile to the trailhead. "Great, now that I live here I can hike every day - or at the very least every weekend, " I would think.
Nope, gotta mow the lawn. Nope, gotta rake the leaves. Nope, gotta pull these saplings out of the retaining wall. The list went on. Every weekend it was something. Nature was encroaching on my land and it was keeping me from hiking and enjoying nature.
I didn't realize it at the time, but I was feeling very confrontational about it. Since my wife moved in and we started our garden, that perspective has changed.
I've always hated my lawn. It's too big. It's burnt and spotty and shitty. It's not good for anything but collecting leaves and weeds. I always had a fantasy of burning it down and replacing it with rows and rows of corn. I had neither the knowledge or the energy to get started with it.
But now that we've started replacing lawn with raised beds and planters. And now that we're caring and tending and growing this delicious food to sustain our family instead of just mowing and raking everything has changed. Even when we are just mowing and raking I don't mind it as much because it serves the balance.
Yard waste goes right in the compost which directly contributes to our garden. Then we get back delicious vegetables. Fallen trees and limbs go into the fire pit for relaxing evenings. The wild blueberries (the ones the chipmunks don't take) are growing right alongside our domesticated blueberry bushes.
Nature is no longer encroaching on my land - we're all working together and helping each other. I mean, I don't have any illusions that we're "roughing it" or that we've "become one with the land" but it has been a matter of degrees.
Anyway, it's been weird to change this perspective that I didn't realize I held. On that note, I'm sure this is also in no small part due to Monty Don. If you get a chance to check out Big Dreams, Small Spaces or read really any of his writing I would highly recommend it.