Curious

Yesterday I walked out into Horizon’s new community garden* because I was curious. It had been about two weeks since some of the beds had been planted. I was curious to see what the garden looked like. Curious to see what had been planted and what was growing.  

I was greeted by the male killdeer bird, who, as soon as I approached the garden gate started squawking at me from his perch in a nearby tree. His noise alerted his mate who ran back and forth, also squawking, to keep me from getting too close to their nest on the ground. Knowing about how these birds nest, the garden team has placed red traffic cones so that volunteers can be careful not to disturb this expectant family. 

I am not a “bird person” and know next to nothing about their habits. I am curious to see how many eggs are in the killdeer nest, however. (I am told there are four). I am reluctant to get too close, feeling the need to curb my curiosity out of respect for the squawking parents.  

Apparently in Texas killdeer is pronounced “killdee.” Skeptical (or perhaps curious), I look it up online and get confirmation that either killdeer or “killdee” can be used. I have fallen into the trap of the Internet Age – my insatiable curiosity for new information has been answered immediately by a quick search.  

Journalist Ian Leslie wonders if this easy access to answers is weakening our capacity to gather knowledge in a way that will stay with us – in a way that will lead to a permanent accumulation of new knowledge. In “Curious: The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends On It,” Leslie writes, “In our digital world, diversive (novel-seeking) curiosity is constantly stimulated by ever-present streams of texts, e-mails, tweets, reminders, and news alerts that stimulate our hunger for novelty. In the process, our capacity for the slow, difficult, and frustrating process of gathering knowledge may be deteriorating.” 

Having passed by the protective killdeer yesterday, I arrived at the garden beds. There is a variety of plantings, each bed probably reflecting the personality of the gardener. Some started with seed. Some started with plants. Some clearly labeled what they planted. Others had not. I recognized many of the plants without looking at the labels. Although I don’t garden much anymore, I accumulated knowledge of squash, tomatoes, peppers, and other vegetables gardening with my parents. It is knowledge that stays with me. 

People come to church for a variety of reasons. Many come at a crisis point in their lives, seeking comfort. Many come to Unitarian Universalism because they are curious. At first, we may seem new or novel to some – a faith based on covenant rather than creed – that’s new and different! My hope is that you will stay with us for the slow walk through the garden that is your life’s journey, accumulating knowledge that both comforts you and challenges you. 

*You can rent a garden bed for only $40 a year. For more information: https://www.horizonuu.org/community-garden

Lora Brandis