Reading time: 2 minutes
It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all — in which case, you fail by default.
- JK Rowling
An apiary among apple trees, a pond by a polytunnel.
Yes, I want to cram a lot into a small space, and yes I don’t know how to do it exactly; or even if it's entirely possible.
With such a such a mammoth task, everyone knows the obvious place to start is with a plan. The pond goes here, the apple tree goes there. You know the drill.
And to a certain extent, I have. I've made sketches, I've bought books.
But when I don’t know whether a thriving pond needs sunlight or shade, or if a greenhouse should face east or west, it’s hard to map my dream out entirely. There are simply too many vegetables — I mean variables.
My wife is urging me to seek professional help — and the opinion of a horticulturalist! To help get me started.
That way — so the logic goes — I'll make less work for myself in the long run, because I won't have to keep correcting what I did the previous year. Aka, I won't continually “fail!"
But I’m ok with failure — in this instance at least. I'm happy to wing it, whatever the labour cost. I’m happy to learn as I go, whatever misfortune might befall me. Isn’t that half the fun?
I take inspiration from my kids.
Children don't concern themselves with efficiencies. Children learn best by doing, not by being told what to do. And its from here they glean the most satisfaction and enjoyment from their endeavours.
Among the youngest of whippersnappers, there's no sense of inner critic either.
My four-year-old still can’t pronounce his Ls (just ask him to say apocalyptically). He’s also terrible at Pictionary. But unlike me, he doesn’t care. He's unaware of his shortcomings.
Instead, he experiments. He plays. He uses his imagination. He has fun!
Adults, on the other hand, exist in a culture that views failure as a negative, rather than as an inevitable part of the creative process. This leads to a culture of risk aversion.
We appear to be unable to see ourselves as enough, to be happy with things as they are.
And who can blame us?
Studies show the average person is exposed to 4,000 marketing messages per day. Many of our cultural cues depend upon us feeling like we are not, or do not have enough.
If I feel I am enough as I am, then I have no reason to want or buy something else. If I’m happy with, say, an iPhone 10, why would I buy an iPhone 11?
It takes a great act of courage in lieu of a community and a culture to propagate this idea that we are all innately enough. It takes a great deal of courage to say no to the conventional wisdom.
Aspiring for this idea of perfection — be it a perfect garden, life, family, or home is a deception. And that’s why — at least for now — I’m happy to muddle along, in my own imperfect way.
Go out on a limb, it's where you find the best fruit.
Bottom slice: cardboard - Smothers the grass before breaking down.
Filling: Layers of enriched topsoil.
Garnish: Crumbly, homemade compost.
Top slice: cardboard - Retains the soil's nutrients and keeps the beds warm.
I've created 15m² of these “sandwiches.” I hope I haven't bitten off more than I can chew.
Take care - S