Burnett: Gardening remains grounded in our digital world

In just a few years, smart phones have taken over the job of keeping in touch more than any device in history.

In just a few years, smart phones have taken over the job of keeping in touch more than any device in history.

We can now Tweet, blog, like, chat, text and shop from anywhere we find ourselves. And yes we can even make an old fashioned phone call.

What did we ever do without these tools and even more so where are we heading from here?

It is mind boggling to think how far technology has come in just a couple of generations.

My mom used to tell the story of my grandfather building a crystal radio set which was the first in their neighbourhood.

The year was about 1922 in Calgary and several neighbours gathered round the set, passing the headphones about, each marveling at the voices and music magically coming from within.

That was only about one lifetime ago. All this advancement in technology has made much of our lives better however there is some debate on whether it has had a positive or negative effect on our stress levels.

It is wonderful to know that loved ones are only a call or text away to let us know how they are faring no matter where they are but on the other hand we humans cannot be expected to keep up with the lightning speed of the electronic world.

There are many activities available to us that we use to relieve the stress of our modern life. Yoga, meditation, church community, fly fishing and martial arts to name just a few.

There is one activity that has changed very little over time. Even with all the new technology at hand the gardening experience has changed very little over the past several centuries. Even the tools we use today are similar to those of our predecessors.

Wheel barrows, trowels, shovels, forks, weeding devices and cultivators have changed little.

Gardeners today enjoy the same pleasure of nurturing their plants as they have done since Roman times and more and more are coming into the fold to grow their own healthy vegetables.

Gardening is a wonderful way to get some exercise but even more so it gives us a sense of accomplishment when we sit on our garden bench and enjoy the fruits of our labour. My grandfather was ahead of his time when he invited his friends over to listen to his crystal set 90 years ago.

The next morning, when he went out in the garden to move some compost with his wheel barrow, he was doing something that was done for centuries before and is still being done today in 2012.

If you want to stay grounded and get some relief from the stress that comes from the modern digital world spend some time in the garden.

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