I have often said that the “oldest profession” is not prostitution. In fact, according to the book of Genesis, the oldest profession, is gardening.
I do not believe gardens are magical, but I do think there is healing power in reconnecting with the earth. Perhaps that is because more and more people are going days, weeks, or even years without touching a tree or grass.
A recent news segment followed a group of children who visited a farm for the first time, their eyes wide with wonder at discovering that milk did not come from grocery stores! Our food so often comes to us pre-packaged, pre-processed, and, often, pre-cooked, so we never see the connection with the soil, water, sunshine, and creation from which they come in order to nourish us.
We turn on our tap and out flows fresh water without having to go to a well or river to fetch it. We’ve become detached from our world and have lost something vital, something essential to our own wellbeing.
This detachment from creation also has led to its abuse. Our forbearers who had to live off the land knew better, but we tend to see it only as “stuff” to use, without a whisper of thanks or any thought as to what we do to the rest of creation.
Modern Americans live unnatural lives encapsulated in artificial spaces with the climate and light manipulated to a uniform level. As a result, our bodies are completely out of synch and unprepared for nature’s rhythm of warmth and cold.
Remember when we were kids and could play outside all summer long and the heat never bothered us? Well, we still inhabit those same bodies, but when was the last time the soles of your feet felt actual grass?
These bodies we live in are made up of the stuff of the earth. Long before organic chemistry, the parables of Genesis told how we were made of the elements that make up the rest of creation. God’s original commission was to care for creation, to tend this garden in which we were placed.
Our ancestors were mostly farmers, ranchers, gardeners, shepherds, and vinedressers. They didn’t so much make their living working with the earth; they made their life that way.
By Michael Piazza
The Center for Progressive Renewal