As I am currently in the middle of a seven hour journey, and am now somewhere over the middle of the United States of America, en route to California, I figure this is as good a time as any to check in. How have you been? As you know, I was recently in Israel, so I wasn't able to maintain my blogg while away. Anyways, while, in the Holy Land, I had many powerfully powerful experiences. Heck I even had several moving experiences- more moving in fact, than a U-haul truck in the streets of Boston on a brisk yet autumn mid-morning. One of these movingly-moving experiences took place, of all places, at a farm at a kibbutz in the South. Growing up in the wilderness of the Rocky Mountains, where I would go cow tippin' to stay out of trouble on the weekends, and where I would ski to school, and then put on my cowboy boots, with the metal spurs on the outside, wearing my jean-blue overalls, I always did view myself as a country-boy. But even though I viewed myself as a country-boy, I still never got into the whole gardening thing. Heck, in recent years I have made fun of my father, whose new passion is his garden. Truth be told, I never was so interested in his garden, even though I try to pretend to be interested when I hear about the new developments and how he is growing tulips. My uncle is even worse- each time I step in his apartment, the first thing he does is take me outside to his balcony garden, where he has baby lemons growing. I find this about as interesting as watching the traffic light turn green outside my house, and then red again, and then green. I find it about as interesting as watching my fingernails grow over the course of a 7 hour journey across the vast breadth of this great country of ours. Truth be told, dear Henry, I figured my father and uncle took such interest in their gardens, because, to put it bluntly, they are entering the middle of Middle-agedness. They aren't young any more, Henry. Cow tippin' just doesn't get it done any more- so I figure, they have this newfound interest in the garden.
And then, Henry, something unexpectedly unexpected happened. Despite my rapidly receding hairline- which is receding rapidlier than a Colorado stage 7 rapid-- I came to appreciate what uncle, and dad sees in their garden. While on this kibbutz, about 5 miles from Gaza, I came to appreciate the garden. You see Henry, as a Jew, anytime I eat a fruit or veggie, I thank G-d for the food with a blessing: Blessed are you, King of the Universe who Created the fruit of the tree. Honestly, I usually say this blessing without even stopping to think about what the Heck I am saying- kind of like a robot who is trained to do whatever it is that he does. But, Henry, when I stood at the foot of a tomato vine, and plucked -a plush red tomato, redder than strawberry koolaid, I had one of those special moments. I declared the blessing, thanking G-d for creating the fruit of the ground, and I dug my tea-stained teeth into this tomato. I realized how awesome it was- at some point a tiny little seed became this morbidy obese tomato, and now, it was gift-wrapped to me, from G-d himself. No packaging, no additives, just a tomato from its vine, just for me. G-d's awesomely Awesomeness hit very hard at that moment, and I now appreciate what my older-but wiser father and uncle see in their gardens. They see Godliness, and His Incredible natural wonders. it is now up to me, oh Henry, to have this concentration and intent everything I eat-- not just when I eat from the tree. Whatever food comes to my mouth, did so as a gift from G-d to me. And even though it is harder to sense this when I am not standing in the garden, it is every bit as true. The garden, dear Henry, is an expression and paradigm for Godliness in the world, and His steady presence at all times, even when it is hard to discern. to that end, Oh Henry, we should all be gardeners.
Indeed, We should all be gardeners.