We are, at our core, animals. Society, in fact, is a way that we separate ourselves from the animals. Society grew from our ability to create and write down a language, and more than a few theorists believe that this, language, is what has separated us from our true and happiest selves. Once we learn language, some say, a veil is drawn over our eyes, and we no longer feel like we are a part of everything else that exists because we have created a way to differentiate ourselves, for lack of a better way to say it, in writing. I now see the difference between myself and the not myself which is represented by these symbols that are not the same as the symbols that represent me. Am I just making it worse at this point? I know I’m ALWAYS harping on this.
We are a part of everything around us, but we separate ourselves from whatever isn’t human, and we don’t stop there. It seems we are constantly on the lookout for more ways to differentiate ourselves, to feel unique, when the reality is, we ARE unique, without making any attempts.
I, in my desperate need to put my hands in the dirt, planted some tomato plants I bought from Home Depot in my backyard in mid July. As I watched everyone tout their own home grown tomatoes, I dug up my young tomato plants and moved them to an area of the yard, I felt, had more sun exposure. Maybe minutes.
So I bought a full length mirror at Lowes, and every morning I would prop it up on a bucket full of water and angle it so that the sunlight was reflecting off of it and onto my tomatoes. I have no idea if that was even useful.
I also packed the kiddos in with mushroom compost, fed them fish emulsion, and spent at least five minutes with each plant a day, chatting and pruning back the endless shoots that they send out, desperate to grow, to vine. Talking to plants totally works.
I even resigned myself, in this Zen Buddhism sort of way, to only getting a couple of pieces of fruit. The act of planting and tending was emotionally worth the time it took because it reminded me that nothing is as straightforward as life. It just keeps moving. It just keeps swimming, regardless of me, regardless of anything.
I have discovered a number of tomatoes now, each different, green, transparent, each a beautifully sculpted expression of life, and I am a part of it. Finally, again. There is no subtext, nothing to decipher. When I think about it, I know what they need, just as I know what I need, and the work that I do to maintain them is an extension of the work I do for my own maintenance.
Everything else is just signs and signified, a way to distinguish ourselves from the rest; the distinctions are obvious, but the connections are what matter the most.