The fall season is very precious to me. I love seeing landscapes turn yellow and red as leafs are filling up the streets dancing in an uncontrollable swirl every time a car passes by. What I love th most, however, is the foggy and gloomy weather. This is the time of the year when I enjoy running even more but also working in the garden.
We did not always have a garden. Actually, this is my first fall with my very first garden. We’re renting an apartment with two perfectly sized pieces of land. One for veggies, the other one for grill parties.
For the last couple of seasons, we have been helping our grandparents with their own little garden where they grow tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, and other vegetables. They are older now so it’s hard for them to maintain the place without someone’s help.
This year, I spent two days weeding, digging, spading and throwing out old plants. When we moved in, the place was a disaster. We knew that the land had not been worked on for some time. So I went in. Why do I love it so much?
Men of the past
It’s definitely part of man’s identity. What fathers and men had to do for living in the past has shifted during the last 100 years to something completely different. It’s not that long ago, when the generation of people, basically my grandparents, worked hard in the fields just to make enough to survive.
Farmers spent hours and hours outside working hard. Waking up early before dawn and finishing late after the dusk.
Their work directly influenced how successfully they prepared for the season which eventually resulted in the well-being of the whole family.
The land was their source of income and food. And men were in charge of this.
“Dedication and productivity drive my work life, garden time helps me purpose in things that matter and change the course of how I think.”
Fast forward: My own garden
As a man, I love to invest and then reap. It’s even more addictive when you work with your own hands and then actually see growing life from below the ground up. As I said, this is my first season with my very own piece of land, yet the thought of it already makes me jump out of the bed during the weekends.
I am just at the beginning but I am already excited to see what happens in summer when seeds transform into carrots, pumpkins, flowers, herbs and stuff.
It’s tremendously motivating to know that unless I work the garden, it won’t provide. Unless I use my hands and get dirty, it won’t let me grow anything. Unless I plan and understand how it works, I may as well live off the dirt.
It’s good I have job where we use computers.
“It’s even more addictive when you work with your own hands and then actually see growing life from below the ground up”
Thoughts and creativity
There is a lot of practicality to manual work.
Staying in the garden helps me get my thoughts right. We are so busy and focused on our daily lives, we simply push away the new and creative that is born just when your brain is not at full clock speed. Dedication and productivity drive my work life, garden time helps me find purpose in things that matter and change the course of how I think.
Garden simply keeps you busy in a different way that you’ve been used to.
“I want childhood for my daughters. I want them to explore, laugh and dance.”
My kids work with me
We work together. Whole family but mostly my daughter. She is pure cuteness with her little tools trying to dig a hole. It doesn’t take too long until she retreats home to bake a pie with my wife. I appreciate these moments more than anything.
I want childhood for my daughters. I want them to explore, laugh and dance. I want them to work with their hands so they can learn and discover the world.
Tracy Gillet writes in her blog post: “When children are overwhelmed they lose the precious down time they need to explore, play and release tension. Too many choices erode happiness, robbing kids of the gift of boredom which encourages creativity and self-directed learning.”
As a father, I do believe hanging out in the garden, letting them get dirty, use tools and explore is what boosts learning and creativity.
Every man should own a piece of land
Manual work reminds of manhood. You pull up the sleeves and you do it. Gardening reminds of fatherhood. It needs your attention, care and time. I grew up in a city and I’m not a son of a farmer. (I am sure my brother is laughing somewhere right now).
Am I just way too excited? Maybe. But maybe every man should own a piece of land. It teaches us responsibility, commitment, care, hard work, simplicity, respect, and love.
If this doesn’t work for you, just exchange garden for something else. Build furniture, fix your motorbike, draw something, go fishing with your kids, mend the broken, create the unseen.
Just use your hands.