and you, only you
Look at the wooden box in front of you. Its rough edges slightly rubbed with dirt; rusted nails attempting to break through small cracks in the boards.
You start thinking of this wooden box as a frame. The soil that lies within it is surrounded by wooden walls; walls that is protecting its content while at the same time preventing it from leaving. Within the frame lies the soil, seemingly passive and lifeless.
From your point of view, it seems as if nothing is happening amidst the wooden frame, as if it is simply a box of soil.
Then you think. You think of the box as a place that holds the potential for growth, and you realise that if you look closely enough, and just focus, you may very well watch the growth happening.
Right there, in front of you.
So bend down.
Sit on your knees.
Lie down on your stomach.
Stare intensely at a single strand of cress.
Keep perfectly still. Don’t blink, just focus.
But you can’t see anything.
The single strand of cress is compromised by a light breeze and is moving involuntarily.
Try closing your eyes. Can you hear it growing? Has anyone, ever, heard something grow?
And you think. And you think. And you decide to try, so you focus on listening to the wooden box in front of you.
And you focus.
But you can’t hear anything.
The sound of growth is drowned out by the sounds of the world. A gentle breeze flowing through the space, a squirrel jumps down from a tree, a brief laugh in the distance. If you listen closely, you can almost hear the wind lightly touching the grass around you, you can almost hear the sun as it reaches the ground.
The sounds of the world surrounding you is weakened by the noises from afar; cars driving, stopping, an ambulance rushing through, the muffled sound of an airplane – flying thousands of feet above you and the wooden box in front of you. You think about the world; can you feel the earth rotating?
Open your eyes.
Only just now do you become aware of what is appearing from the soil.
The idea of growth had, until now, been somewhat fictional.
In this very moment, from your perspective, the plants and vegetables resembles a forest. And so you start to perceive the box as its own miniature living eco-system; leeks suddenly become trees, clovers develop into tall grass and that lone, little ladybug in the midst of it all is all of a sudden surrounded by an entire little world, within a significantly bigger world.
But what lies beneath this small world is what truly captures you.
Then, suddenly, you start thinking of how a plant has roots. How a single plant, just like you, has roots that extend beyond the soil where it lays,
Close your eyes.
Imagine yourself climbing over the wooden walls of the box, descending into the soil and vanishing deep into the darkness and warmth of the dirt.
make yourself as small as possible.
You imagine yourself lying like this beneath the surface of the earth, in the warm and nutritious embrace of the soil.
Can you feel yourself gaining sustenance, getting stronger, expanding slowly – can you feel yourself growing?
Now, can you hear yourself growing?
You visualize yourself slowly moving towards the surface. For every grain of dirt you pass you feel stronger, revitalized almost. Then, without warning, you can feel the crisp spring air on your face, suddenly you can feel the warm sun on your skin.
Then, you imagine yourself floating through the air– detaching yourself from the ground and flying away from the wooden box.
The box of soil where you emerged from becomes smaller and smaller as you drift away. From a distance you can see the surrounding community, a juxtaposition between nature and city, trees and cars. A jumble of people and places and vehicles working together and against each other simultaneously.
The city becomes smaller and you cannot see the wooden box anymore. You drift further away as the air becomes thinner, but you can spot the sea. All of a sudden you fly through the clouds and into the troposphere. You go faster and faster, the place in which you emerged from becomes smaller and smaller.
Then you stop and you find yourself floating aimlessly through space.
Look at the earth, slowly, almost unnoticeably rotating in the middle of nothing.
And while you cannot see that small shoot of clover almost inconceivably sticking up from the soil in a wooden box, in an allotment, in the outskirts of London in the western part of the world, on earth – while you cannot see this shoot of clover from the edge of the universe, you know that it is there, growing and gaining nutrition, developing, becoming able to provide for its surroundings, however insignificant it may seem.
Zoom in again.
Plunge back into orbit, fall to the earth.
Open your eyes. You are you again.
Listen to the sounds of the world. Look intensely at the box and see if you can catch the growth happening, take into consideration that little ladybug that is in a small world of its own.
Then you stand up.
You take one final look at the wooden box in front of you, and you smile.
You smile, because you, out of everyone else, holds the secrets of the soil.
You, and nobody else, knows how it feels to grow, to arise from the ground and to finally breathe.
have seen the earth rotating from the edge of the universe.