I returned from the farm two days ago, but have been avoiding updating the blog. It’s not that it was a disappointing experience, but rather, the opposite — there simply is TOO much to say. Plus, I don’t like the idea of having to update something on a screen everyday, which is what I’m trying to get away from... in any case —
This farm was a living example of the reality I’m attempting to make for myself. Everyone there is connected to the natural world, and not the fake, fabricated, digital world that the majority of us esteem to be our “God.” They’re able to identify species on the local ecosystem, forage for food, grow their own food, and cook the healthiest meals with the bare necessities. They’re all athletic, as they do physical labor for the majority of their day, and have active hobbies such as archery or hiking. They use technology sparingly, as to contact each other or order equipment online. There’s no TVs. They listen to informational podcasts about health and ancestral living; they listen to what I deem “good” music made with real instruments and not with repetitive MIDI chords and nursery rhyme lyrics and melodies (I’m a longtime hip-hop fan, but it’s hard to be in this day and age...), dance, and sing along.
What I primarily helped with was seeding in the greenhouse, harvesting, and pruning trees. I’ve spent more time outdoors for that week than I have this year, probably! I even biked to a nearby trail and allowed myself to explore. It was hard work. But I appreciated the experience even more when I got home, where it’s too easy to give in to addiction as it spurs from everything in the city...
I do miss how quiet it was, how I could hear and see the birds, instead of engines running. I ate nutritionally well for that week and actually cooked, as they didn’t have a microwave and I was forced into it by necessity. I looked out my window and saw trees, instead of daily commuters to work.
I think the experience as a whole has me slowly reorienting my life towards the natural world and away from the grasp of the digital one. I got a good deal on a book and CD set that’s a field guide of local birds, plants, and trees, and I aspire to become a sort of naturalist. I’m unsure if I disclaimed this in a previous post, but one of the games I used to play was RuneScape; now, for once, I’m setting out to learn the skills I maxed-out in game: martial arts (combat), farming, spirituality (prayer), agility, etc.
One of the workers there told me that when he was younger, he was addicted to World of Warcraft; one day, he decided to set it down and buy foraging books, doing it in real-life. It was inspiring to me, because he was especially knowledgeable on the environment and plant biology and a lot of it went over my head but it was always nice talking with him. It also appears we share the same story. I wonder if there’s a lot of us out there, young addicts of social media or video games who become ‘addicts’ of nature instead? Except, I’m not yet addicted to nature...I’m still craving the laptop, the junk food, the comfort...it will be awhile until the body or lizard brain follows suit after the mind.
I weep for my youth, my childhood, particularly because I have to be making this shift so ‘late,’ or at least what I consider to be late. I’m 20, and people often say you don’t need it all figured out, but then throw on obligations on you in which you DO need it all figured out. It’s hard making a transition to a lifestyle I know nothing about...it’s much easier to stay on the path I’m on, surrounded by familiarity, but I will regret it if I do. I weep for all children and teens who spend those crucial years as I did, not exploring, not becoming acquainted with nature. It’s no wonder empathy is a dying trait. It’s hard to empathize with something not real.