This past weekend we headed north, to visit some friends who live in a small town in Iowa. A non-music related trip was welcome, and it wasn’t until we arrived that I realized how much I’d been needing this. An unexpected source of relaxation came from the fact that we had no cell phone service up there. It’s kind of amazing what involuntary “unplugging” can do. First, I was a little upset. What kind of town doesn’t get my certain service? Seriously? Then, I took a deep breath and was able to move past the lack of constant connectedness that has become our cultural normality. Without that nagging in the back of my mind, I set out to become connected in a different way.

We spent an afternoon on the Seed Savers Farm, which is nestled just outside of Decorah, IA. You can find animals on the farm, but what most impressed me most about Seed Savers is their preservation gardens. Each year they grow countless varieties of edible plants that are in danger of becoming extinct. Their mission is this- “To conserve and promote America’s culturally diverse but endangered garden and food crop heritage for future generations by collecting, growing, and sharing heirloom seeds and plants.”

For me, there’s something calming about actively participating in something so basic, yet so necessary to our human survival. There is no immediate gratification with sowing seeds in the ground. The pay-off comes months later, after many sweat drenched t-shirts. It comes after the first fruits are harvested, savored and celebrated. To me, the pay-off is a sweet reminder to take a step away from the fast paced, plugged in lifestyle we find ourselves overtaken by day after day.

I brought a piece of the Seed Savers farm back home to remind me of this- a box full of seedlings to transplant in my own backyard. Gardening has become one of my favorite hobbies for many reasons. Unplugging is certainly one, but perhaps the most powerful reminder of all is the potential of one little seed.