It was an exciting morning, although feeling very tired from the late night before, there was still something in the air that said, “today is going to be a good day.” I walked outside of the house with my coffee in hand, scanned the neighborhood and appreciated the brightness of the morning sun which mixed with the crisp air and gave a refreshing breath to my lungs. My colleague Billy and I got into his truck to head down to the University of California San Diego in La Jolla.
We arrived with some time to spare to get more coffee and breakfast from the student center at the University. Most of our group had gathered and began to wait for some of the straggler students who continued to look for parking. As the group finally was complete, our tour guide, a short, excitable elderly lady with a short temper called to our attention for instruction. Respectively, we listened to her specific instructions and began our trek touring the campus and its vast amount of public art it has on display.
While meandering through the campus, I noticed the closeness in proximity of the structures which were filled with students eagerly learning. All of the buildings were very connected which contrasted to the spread-out Cal Poly Pomona campus. Separated, disconnected, divided; that didn’t seem like the Cal Poly mindset. We as students want connection, we want to feel like a family, or a community with our peers. As I reflected on the differences that UCSD had in comparison to Cal Poly I realized a solution to the subtle separation that existed home, a community garden. We need a place to grow together, literally and figuratively, in order to meet that expectation of “Learn by doing.” UCSD had a community garden on campus, why shouldn’t we?
A Plot at the Community Garden, UCSD
A rush of excitement filled my stomach like water breaking through a dam, much like it does anytime I envision building and designing something new. I gazed at the colorful and well built edible garden before me and imagined the possibilities that could enfold if I just had some money and tools.
Those feelings of excitement are so familiar and friendly. I recall being thirteen years old and going to the hardware store with my dad, wandering the isles in search of the best 2×4’s and plywood for my new half pipe ramps that we designed. I was hoping that this ramp would launch me and my skateboard into outer space and bring me back, again hopefully, to the landing ramp on the other side. This was common for me to daydream and feel those rushing waters of excitement fill my belly from visions of designs and construction. I would most days sit in the classroom ignoring the lectures and daydreaming of some art design, construction, or way I could create some useful thing to spend my time doing.
Once again the flood gates were open. That familiar muse was buzzing and ambition was setting in. I wandered around the garden examining the way the boxes were constructed to hold the soil, the width and direction the paths were located around the boxes to gave access and flow, as well as the overall organization to utilize the existing topography. I even noted the placement of benches and fencing to keep out the pests. Each piece of information was being reorganized in my brain like a collage, trying to find all the possible ways I could design such a place as this garden.
I ask myself, what gets me so excited about designing or creating? What is so appealing and motivating? Is it as simple as “because I can”? Or is there a greater more complicated system to my personality? Maybe its the idea of creation itself, some connection with that greater reason for life. The connection with a grand Creator and a desire to be that ultimate controller and hold that ultimate power.
Now I’m brought back to simplicity, I build and design because I can. The ultimate power seems to be complex and tiring. By designing something like a garden that gives opportunity for others to design and create as they please I’ll pass those flooding waters of excitement to another in hopes that they will too seize that creative power and become an ultimate creator.