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A Monk’s Life

When I was a history teacher, I was often asked what is my favorite time period? I always said Medieval Europe. My favorite part of Medieval European history is the story of the monks and monasteries. I never tired of reading, and teaching about the way the monks found God through their silent labors in their fields, orchards, scriptorium, apiaries and barns taking care of their livestock. Their way of life spoke to me in a fundamental way. Having reflected on it, as I quietly begin to slip into middle age, I realized, that my dream of having a small orchard and market garden business is that I was really creating my own monastery. All my labors, dreams, experiences, joys and griefs that went into clearing land, tilling the soil, planting trees, sowing seeds and harvesting really allowed me to contemplate in silence the spiritual aspects of life. Just like the monks, I too, toiled in silence, wrestling with my inner self. I suppose the reason that gardening is America’s number one hobby is because when one’s feet and hands are close to the earth, a natural reflection of the divine, is done so effortlessly. It is good for the soul.

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