The World In A Garden – OpEd


I bet you your garden is not as ugly as mine. It is unmanicured, has no pattern, designless and is un-uniform. It has everything most “educated”gardeners don’t like—weeds, worms, decaying leaves, wood louse, earwigs, centipedes, earthworms, lizards, bullfrogs, ants, spiders and many a flying and buzzing critter.

But here, the wind whispers to the trees, plants beckon shyly and kiss the soil, fallen fruits and shapeless leaves adorn the grass, rainbow flowers tease the sun, and birds hide and seek beneath twigs heavy with fruits. All are diverse, yet interconnected. All part of the other, but never apart. All interdependent, not any independent.

Each day, when I am home and my legs allow, when the unselfish sun beams through the painted clouds, I go to my garden to feel life. There, I renew my existence, re-energize, feel my passing thoughts, hear my heart’s unspoken words. Because living life has become more difficult everyday due to man’s unforgiving, endless greed and unsatiable hunger for material possession.

Out here, as I gently pull out plants called weeds, by unthinking minds, and lay them on the soil to rot again and enrich the Earth anew, as I clutch a soil with wriggling worms, to plant a seed, I know am reaching out to the Only Source of Life. I am able to comprehend better what life is, in this world.

Communicating with the Almighty, they say is a prayer. I say it is life being lived. Anything less is just an existence. I am a God-believer. And as one, I understand appreciate the truth that I am alive, awake, untamed, free, tolerant, non-linear, non-comformative and non- confrontational but activated.

The garden soil reminds me of my roots. Of my creation by the Only and Most Powerful God in the universe. The black-brown clump called dirt by unknowing humans, supports life for billions, without it of which, nothing will grow. It teaches us to respect all creation as sacred.

That, it is demanded from us to respect ecological ethics, diverse and cultural evolution, balance between being and doing. The free growing trees, weeds, flowers and busy flying and crawling denizens symbolize how we should live. With simplicity, passion, kindness, creativity, authentic expression, and with a purpose, outside of the stifling confines of today’s dysfunctional, distracted and insane cultural mindset.

I take time to sit and watch everything that happens in my garden.

Everything that the soil is and does is perfect. There are no exceptions to this. The soil accepts what we reject as wastes, composts these with earthworms, wood lice, century bugs, millepedes and centipedes and microorganisms to grow life that provides food for all creatures. The spiders and bull frogs eat the worms; the worms eaten by birds and the natural phenomenon of food chain goes on.

This perfect natural arrangement could only be made by God who has thought of everything. Yet here we are, stewards, destroying the same delicate balance as if nothing matters.

It continues to frighten me about what the relationship is that exists between us and other creation in our natural world. We might be allowed to think we’ve got the upper hand for a short while, but this is just an illusion.

When we impose our will recklessly, we are ignorant that sooner rather than later, Mother Nature will reassert her dominance. And it will not be long when humans will start living around the edges of things.

Easily overlooked, we must look at our world as life itself. But how can we when we can’t understand this in our very own garden.

Dr. Michael A. Bengwayan

Dr. Michael A. Bengwayan wrote for the British Panos News and Features and GEMINI News Service, the Brunei Times, and US Environment News Service. In the Philippines, he wrote for DEPTHNews of the Press Foundation of Asia, Today, the Philippine Post, and Vera Files. A practicing environmentalist, he holds postgraduate degrees in environment resource management and development studies as a European Union (EU) Fellow at University College, Dublin, Ireland. He is currently a Fellow of Echoing Green Foundation of New York City. He now writes for Business Mirror and Eurasia Review.

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