Sometimes we forget why we love the things we do, incorporating them into the area of being as natural to us as breathing, sleeping, eating. And then, sometimes, we are reminded in the most nourishing and unexpected of ways.
Yesterday, I signed up for a cooking class with Sammy’s Organic Thai Cooking School, just outside of Chiang Mai. Sammy himself came to pick me, and five other farangs, up from our guesthouses, and whisked us off on the day’s adventures. First to the market, where the senses were saturated with abundance and epicurean symmetry:
Then, we were off to Sammy’s fourth-generation family farm. Let me just say that there is nothing like gardening in a tropical climate. Peppers, eggplants, and pumpkins grow with great abandon, amidst lemongrass stalks that shoot four feet into the air. Trellises of blue pea and tiny sprigs of wildflowers provide a delicate balance to the audacious and verdant greenery. It was here, touring the kitchen garden, prominently bridging house and rice field, that I found myself surrounded by the familiar. Ah yes, growing food, mi amore.
After several hours of cooking and feasting, Sammy insisted we take advantage of the many shaded hammocks set up throughout the garden, for an afternoon nap before our second round of cooking, and feasting (Hard living, I know). As I settled in and came to stillness, the garden around me flickered with life: birds eating bugs eating leaves, wings flitting in all directions. And I remembered, in a new way, ‘This is what a garden is — a place where we invite life’. In an ecologically diverse garden you don’t have to control all the elements. Just create the canvas, nature will do the rest.
In a world of paradox and complexity, it seems like there are too seldom solutions which don’t themselves create other unfortunate problems. Because of this, environmental and social issues can often seem at odds. The opposite is true in an organic garden, in the very best of ways.