No one has ever been able to describe me as being at one with nature. I like a stroll down a forest path, sure, but path is the operative word. I like my nature tidy. You won't catch me going off trail into the woods, picking up snail shells, marveling at spider webs and shed snake skins and whatnot. Blechy. I like nature, but it's dirty.
I say this light-heartedly, of course. The wild depths of the forest are beautiful. Hey, I've seen the photographs. But I appear to be missing the gene that wants to hang out in it overnight with a canteen of water and some beef jerky, playing my guitar. You know there are bears and cougars in there, right? Besides, I don't even own a guitar.
The kind of nature I like is the good old-fashioned organized kind - family camp grounds, garden rows and farmers' fields. Nature the way humans intended. Give me a row of sturdy garden leeks or flowering tomato plants in the hot, springtime sun any day. Row upon row of corn stalks stretching up to the blue summer sky. A leafy vineyard sloping down a gentle hill just before harvest. That's beautiful to me. Or maybe I just like nature you can eat.
My kitchen garden is a calm, peaceful slice of intended nature. It brings the reassuring pleasure of knowing that all is well with the world. Especially in springtime. The garden says we've got nowhere to go but up from here, kid. You and me, we're gonna hang out all summer long and just make stuff. Well, okay, Garden. I'm in.
My kids love things like snail shells and spider webs, though. Perhaps they have the gene. Maybe they'll grab their guitar and run into the woods one day and eat beef jerky with the bears. But they also love the tidy nature of our kitchen garden. Especially the delicious parts. And for now, I'm just happy to have them there with me.
Are you a wild nature person, or an organized nature person? What are you growing in your garden right now?