(Originally Published on February 4, 2013 at http://averticalfarmstory.blogspot.com/)
Ten days ago, I left everyone and everything behind to go on this special and exotic quest. It is a very challenging task to describe the reason why, not to mention the associated feelings. And up till today, the explanation is still very hard to produce.
Yet here I go!
Just the other day, after the Urban Agricultural Summit 2013, I enjoyed a nice and very slow walk through the city of Linköping (Sweden). I reflected on what had happened the past days and months. With a satisfied smile, I crossed the street and took a big detour around a young boy and girl coming from the opposite direction. Passing by, I observed that the shy boy focused on the road ahead, but when my gaze turned to the little girl, I saw that she looked me straight in the eyes with a big, confident smile.
During that split second of unabashed eye contact, I noticed something very peculiar in her eyes: it was a look that said “why”.
Of course, I could have been completely wrong about what was going on inside her head. But that glimpse of wonder and gratitude in her eyes made me think about the saying;
“Look at the world through the eyes of a child”
It is one of the many expressions that, a couple of months ago, had helped me to take a step back and rethink my life. It had been a train of thought that had forced me to reflect on what I had been doing and especially…why I had been doing it.
So after I smilingly passed those two children and made a kind gesture by getting out of their way, I was curious. Had the girl been observing me? Had she learned that even small acts like these have the power to change a person’s mood? Or had she just been thinking that my hair looked funny? The answer will forever remain a mystery.
Still pondering on this meeting, I wondered whether the girls investigative quality, her researching feature, her exploratory instinct is part of the attitude of a natural born learner. A tiny baby looks at the world with wondering eyes. He is curious for everything crossing his sight. And when the child learns to talk, question-mayhem begins; “why this? Why that? How come this? How come that?…”
This made me reflect, why did I lose this attitude as I grew older? Why did I ever come to think that everything could be explained? Was it because I stopped observing after people told me staring is impolite? Was it because the school-system taught me that every problem has a strictly defined solution? Or was it because of the easy “you’ll understand it when you grow up”-answer to many of my questions?…
Who knows… yet her curiosity also made me reflect about the important question Chief Oren Lyons had posed during his speech at the first day of the Urban Agricultural Summit 2013. It is one of the questions I had asked myself a lot during these past months:
“How do we educate 7 billion people about a sustainable society?”
And although life holds many uncertainties like this, there are numerous amazing and fantastic things to hold on to.
Did the little girl inspire me or did I inspire her?
Was she learning from me or was I learning from her?
And is it foolish of me to believe that the world is like that little girl?
Can I dream that, one day, the world will look up at that food-producing-skyscraper and wonder “why”?
Well…I guess there’s only one way to find out.