I thought I’d share an excerpt from a favorite book of mine, At Least In The City Someone Would Hear Me Scream by Wade Rouse. It’s about a man and his partner moving from the city to rural Michigan, in an attempt to explore the simple life. They eat blueberries, Wade writes, and they have encounters with rogue raccoons and the glory that is a rafter of turkeys. And without further ado:
“There should be some thrill about sticking your hands deep in the ground, planting seeds, nurturing new life, being responsible for growing your own food, food you know has not been chemically altered in any way.
I should be able to do this. I should take pride in this. I should enjoy it.
But I plant awkwardly, stiffly, like a frightened robot. I hover above the earth, my knees over the ground, too scared to get them dirty. My back aches. I dig my hands in the soil – uncovering earthworms and slugs and creepy-crawlers – and gag audibly. But I make myself persevere, like when I tried out for the freshman football team in high school – to prove I could be normal and fit in – and ended up breaking my little finger in three places, the bone actually protruding through my skin.
I try to wear gloves, but they eventually become wet and muddy, so I switch to rubber gloves, which are cold and very prostate exam, and they rub blisters on my fingers and forearms.
I just don’t like dirt. I never liked to make mud pies. I never liked to get my new white Keds dirty by walking anywhere there might be dust. I don’t consider this work beneath me – though, quite literally, it is – it’s just dirty work. I don’t like gunk under my fingernails. I don’t like to look like like one of the Little Rascals.”
Gardening isn’t made for everyone. But it’s in the effort. We all know what we like and don’t like, but it’s in trying new things. How boring if we always ensured our white Keds remained pristine. Wade, to his credit, jumped into the garden and, even though he found it miserable, did it because it made his partner happy. Oh, what we do for love. But, hopefully, we can also learn something in the meantime.