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#33: Do you know the voice of your subconscious?

Saturday, 11 am. I just got back from the night flight from Dallas, on which I slept for two hours during my break. That will have to do. If I lie down now, I’ll sleep until the evening and my circadian rhythm will be completely screwed.

So I do what every good German does on Saturday when he’s not washing his car: gardening. My neighbor is already mowing the lawn. Look at any residential area and the picture repeats itself with slight variations a hundred times over, like a kaleidoscope of bourgeoisie.

I deliberately planned my garden to require very little maintenance in the long term: a natural garden with just enough structure to fit well with the contemporary architecture and form a smooth transition to the wild nature at the edge of a civilized residential area.

But when I set cultivated nursery plants into the beds and pull out what sprouts wild under the moniker “weed” in painstaking manual labor, I question the point of the endeavor.

There are gardens that are true works of art. Built and tended over generations, they are impressive testaments to a symbiosis of foresight, guidance of nature, and aesthetics. A few private gardens are nearly on par with them, including my mother’s.

But does everyone have to emulate this on their own little plot? Why do we have this strong urge to subjugate nature? The father of a college friend even went over his lawn, eyeing to remove “foreign grass” – every stalk not of the preferred species. Horticultural racism.

U.S. Americans also have a penchant for the perfect turf. But as is so often the case, they’re a little ahead of Germany, because in the U.S. there already exists a countermovement: Grow Food Not Lawns.

The impetus for these philosophical thoughts about gardens was the memory of how I considered buying a campervan when I was building my house. I had wanted a larger RV in place of a car and rooftop tent for some time and thought now would be a good time. I could have terminated the lease on my apartment earlier and parked the van on my property so I could always be on site during construction, answer questions and correct mistakes early on.

Was it really these common-sense reasons that were behind my desire? My gut tells me: Even back then, I wanted to live minimalistically in a small space in wild nature. I thought it would be as long as the house and garden were under construction. Today I know: I wanted it instead.

Your subconscious is constantly talking to you, but its words are quiet and their meaning is often found between the lines. You have to listen carefully.

Do you follow your nature? Do you let it roam wild? Or do you force things in life that don’t want to be – just like I can’t help trying year after year to grow Mediterranean plants in a harsh mountain climate? It goes well for a while, until I’m momentarily not paying attention and the frost freezes my efforts.

When your subconscious knocks quietly, listen, hear it out, and heed its call.

If you have a garden, let the lawn be imperfect and the weeds grow tall to see if they don’t become beautiful (well-adapted) plants. And if you’d rather have rosemary and lemons in your life, live it in a place where they grow naturally


Yours, Ulrich

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