Solarium Magic

The son came and tugged me to the newly opened section in our local library. His eyes were shining as he said, “Come on! I found something that you’re going to love!” I cannot deny that I love it when something like this happens, and smiled. Off we went, climbing two stairs at a time. Christened ‘The Solarium’, it nestles in a sunlit section of the building – like a mini glass house, it basks there in the warmth of the Californian sun, and doing the good quiet work that is hardest of them all- converting sunlight to food. The area is dedicated to making gardeners of us all – there are seedling packets with instructions on how to sow and grow the seeds given to us. There are books on gardening nearby.  Feeble attempts to capture the glory and wonder of the real work.

I admit it, it has since become one of my favorite places in the library. I am in awe of gardeners – true magicians of the Earth I call them. My own feeble attempts at coaxing life to take root and thrive, only reiterate the power of the simple garden. I was talking to the son as to how we must all learn to grow our own food, make our own food, learn to sew and stitch out clothes etc. More and more, we live in a world where these simple things are becoming separated by layers of machinations and supply chain mechanics. 

When we were in Epcot (Disney World, Florida) a few years ago, I remember the children seeing the plants from which their beloved tomatoes and eggplants grew with awe. City children typically do not see these marvels of nature slowly doing their work, conscientiously and relentlessly.

Epcot green house

It was probably propitious that I should have found the book, The Blue Book of Nebo by Manon Steffan Ros, just then in the new fiction shelf. The book is set in a time after a nuclear war, and how very very few people have survived the disaster. The mother-son duo manage to grow food for themselves in a glass house, and learn to thrive on their own. It is a fascinating read. It is by no means unique, but the narrative style is appealing and slowly draws you in. It is also something that I am sure everyone thinks of occasionally – the sad aftermath of an apocalypse. What would we do? Who would survive and how will they live? So many of our solutions depend on power. 

Mulling over these things early one morning, is when I heard about the ProtoVillage from one of my friends.

  • Grow your own food, 
  • Make your own food
  • Weave your own clothes
  • Build your own home 

Inspired, I emptied the seeds from the Solarium, into a moist patch of mud in the backyard and watched as slowly, a few weeks later, little shoots and leaves sprouted from the Earth. I may have danced a jig.

“Nature never hurries, yet accomplishes everything.”

Lao Tzu

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