Corn flowers in the potWe do gardening with a joy we never felt for other work before. It seems weird at times. I come from a family of gardeners and farmers but my husband never touched a seed before this year. His family has a lot of land around their house in India, but they never planted anything on it, which is amazing to me.

I was born in a small village in Romania. My father’s home place. Which is just 5 kilometers away from the village where my mom was born. All my grandparents made their living from the land. Their children, during communism, where encouraged to move into the cities though, go for high education, remove themselves from the immediacy of the soil. They did it. They lived in cement boxed-apartments and worked in offices. Now they are retiring and they can finally touch their dream – go back home, go back to the village and its gardens, live outside, in nature, as human beings are supposed to, not cooped up in tall buildings surrounded on all sides by cement, pavement, grey instead of brown and green. And they are finally happy.

Although born in the same village as my father, I lived in a town all my life. In an apartment. I spent my summers with my grandparents but I used to miss badly the cinemas, friends and pastry shops. I was not happy of my heritage, of not being born among oil paintings on walls, and silver candle sticks on antique biedermeier tables. I would spend all my time reading indoors, unable to appreciate, as my parents do, the life in the middle of fertile soil. Too dirty for me. Still, I always ate grapes from our vineyards, tomatoes and cucumbers from our vegetable gardens, corn from our corn-fields, apricots, apples, pears and prunes from the trees in my grandparents’ yard. I lived in their vicinity but not in their midst.

This year I planted my first tomatoes. I learned this year that tomatoes are annual plants. I could have sworn they were perennials and there is no need to plant them each year. How disconnected have I been?

I love to read and write. But I need my garden too. I need to know I am a part of this thing that is most beautiful than any human creation. This thing that breeds beauty as it grows. I still need books to survive. But I know how blessed I am to have been a child of the fields. To have had my grandparents’ yards and gardens to play  during all my childhood summers. I value my heritage and I am grateful.

I had to weight it – what makes me pick up a book and become lost in it? The need to evade my reality. What makes me get out of the house, sit on the grass and pick at my small veggie garden? A deeper need to dive into existence open-eyed, and fully aware.

So many aspects of my life have changed lately, but I would say the most radical change is my view of culture vs. nature. It’s no longer just books, paintings, theatre, music, architecture for me. It is no longer about the genius of men. Now I see the genius behind it all. And sometimes I think it sleeps in my garden, on certain moon-lit nights, or when it rains heavily and the tree branches touch our roof. Or sometimes when I kneel in the grass and pull weeds from the vegetable garden. That is how meditation was born. The meditation of working people. Of the ones who create.