Cyber-real or Dirty Real?

After my sons and I spent a few hours working together in the yard, mowing and cultivating our struggling gardens, we went for a walk along the shore of Lake Pontchartrain. On the way back to our house from the lake, one of my sons said,

After a week of schoolwork on iPads, it’s nice to do real stuff.

A bit more conversation teased out the meaning: technology makes you feel “stuck in your head,” and can make you lose touch with feeling grounded in the world of real people, dirt, grass and lake breezes. (Note well: such and insight would only come after the labor was over, since before and during I encounter what I might gently call ‘ambivalence.’)

That insight reminded me of a great quote from a book I love and highly recommended to all gardeners, Vigen Guroian’s Inheriting Paradise: Meditations on Gardening. Here it is:

My son Rafi is enchanted with cyberspace. But we are not disembodied mind or spirit, we are our bodies – cruising the Internet won’t teach us that. It may even trick us into thinking that having a body and a place is not important. Gardening teaches us differently. I do not mean industrial mechanized farming, I mean the kind of gardening that any one of us can do with his hands and feet and the simplest tools.

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