Garden & Gathering

Nature is Party to All

Category: Blog

G&G Is Dead, World is Wilder

I started this blog to publish a series of radio play style podcasts two years ago. It turned into an EDC blog, almost prepper at times. It sat for a winter and nagged at my soul, nibbling pieces of my heart to return to writing. I came back to Denver and picked up posting short stories and poetry, until I realized this blog is like a junk drawer of my thoughts.

I like junk drawers, but I’m not 16 anymore. Nor am I 21. I am 30 (almost), which means nothing and everything. Thus, without further ado I am laying to rest my little Garden. Father Alabaster will have to poke his head out in another story. Until then, there is always my homepage and portfolio over there at my name River Wharton.

OR! You can follow my new creativity and adventure blog: World Is Wilder

Thanks for all the good times!

(Also, WiW will NOT be posting to Facebook. Thank you very much.)

Modern Friendship

Jake and Kyle

My best friend is Jake.  We met in high school, spent most of our days together and then went to college in separate states. He went to CSU in Fort Collins and I went to SPU in Seattle. We talked over the phone almost every day. After college, Jake decided to come to Seattle for a month. He found a job and ended up staying there longer than I did. We lived together for three years. The last year, we had really begun to settle into our ground floor apartment in Ballard.

One summer, my Dad came to visit me. We made a few trips around the city and one trip to Deception Pass. When he first arrived, he just wanted to relax. We stayed in the apartment, shades drawn and television on. Jake and I shared the large couch with our laptops open on our laps. My dad rested on the smaller couch. We didn’t say much to each other except what we were seeing pop up in our Facebook news feed.

My Dad retold this story to me the other day, laughing at how we didn’t even talk to each other. I was horrified. I try so hard to not let technology get in the way of connecting with other people. I have a smart phone that I am wary of ever pulling out, barely using its capacity. I have a laptop that I usually never take out of my room. I have headphones that I only use in bed.

The story first served to unnerve me, then reminded me how far I have come. It unnerved me because the strength it takes to quit the addiction to technology. I want to be clear that I am still largely connected; I am only trying to find appropriate times to plug in. I don’t ALWAYS need to have headphones in when I walk, nor do I always need my laptop with me in a coffee shop. A book and journal will do just as well.


The other night I was making my way home in a car. The music was loud and I had the windows down. It suddenly struck me what that story was really about, maybe only another way to view what was happening. Jake and I have been friends for over ten years. In high school, and summer breaks from college, we would drive around Denver late at night listening to our favorite bands. Sometimes we would sing along, but often we just played the music loud and drove fast. We would both stare into the darkness of the city’s suburbs. Thinking about the families home, asleep. Not knowing what was going to happen next. We didn’t talk to each other, but that does not mean we weren’t connected. Our friendship was growing without words to nurture it. Art nurtured our friendship. Connected us in a way that clearly we will never forget. Sometimes you don’t need words.

Grand Central

Grand Central Terminal

The most interesting lesson learned was in a sense not about me but about us. I did learn a lot about myself, meet new people, and discover great cities. I found that just making myself available helps meeting people. I learned that it is okay to be reserved. I learned that it is okay to not travel the world consistently. On the other hand, I learned that people need time alone. I learned that I love extroverts and respect their thoughts. I found that I am not as judged on my way of life as I think I am. In New York, I found something else that inspires my deepest being.

Josey and I were sitting around having a beer at Crown Inn having an expensive Rolling Rock (I tried a local Ithaca IPA first). We didn’t have a lot of money, but I really wanted to see the Chrysler building. We packed a bag and walked to the subway station. We got off at Grand Central Terminal. I hadn’t really thought about what I was about to walk into. The station was extremely busy. People heading every direction as we looked for any stairway up and out. We walked into the main hall of the station, I looked up. I was brought to tears. I’m not going to try to describe the sense of openness and space that overwhelms you in this building. The stars painted above staring down at you. I just want to explain what I learned, what is the core of the work I want to do here.

We do a lot of evil. Humans. Our personal passions get in the way. We are filled with greed and lust. We are also filled by a unified spirit. When inside, and outside, Grand Central, my only thought was: look what we can do. People were brought together to create a magnificent work of architectural art to help speed people to their destinations. What can we do when we work together as one mind? Where do we want to go? What kind of change do we want to see?


Okay. It is Spring. Time to start new projects. Plant your seeds. Find inspiration. Get going.

Garden & Gathering has been a lot of things in the last year. It started (and was named) for a radio drama. I wanted to write about a world that had exhausted its resources and how people would cope in this dystopia. It turned into a place to challenge myself and write. It has turned into a combination of all these things. The goal is to not get to that dystopian future. The goal is to inspire people to reconnect with the land, with each other, and with themselves.

I hope to post weekly challenges that I myself will partake with a report. This is just one tiny goal that will be the lifeline for the blog. I hope to support small, local businesses. I hope to support the arts. This summer my goal is to release a quarterly publication. Physical, right in the hands of anyone that wants one. Each season has its theme, this Spring it is EARTH.

I leave tomorrow on a sort of “vision quest” that will unite the last few weeks I have spent in semi-isolation. I will wander from North Carolina to Philadelphia and end in Brooklyn. I have made little road trips all my life, with the only goal to make it to the end. I am usually accompanied by a friend or lover, but this time I am on my own. I have lots of little art projects I have brought in my bag. I brought colored pencils, pastels, stamp pad, glue stick, charcoal, pens, pencils, and lots of paper. My challenge to myself is to meet new people and discover myself. To do this I have challenged myself to not bring headphones.

You see, I have a tendency to walk around to my own soundtrack. I never really realized that this is blocking out the world around me, it puts me in my own head. I cannot escape into the world if I am just walking around in my head. Today I sat on the deck at my Mother’s house surrounded by the forest. I rested me feet in the sun. I pulled up my pants to my knees to let as much sunlight hit my body as possible. I closed my eyes and started to listen. Far away I could hear trucks and motorcycles on the road, but that was quickly drowned out. Birds flapping, pecking at the trees. Wind rustling up dirt from the driveway. Branches bending in the breeze. Inside my head I heard nothing, at first. After awhile I heard the sound of peace and my mind exploring out into the universe calling to me.

This is my challenge: leave your head phones at home. Connect to the sounds of the physical realm around you. The same realm that holds more magic than your earbuds could hope to produce.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Vision Quest Carry Bag

If you have been reading this blog since its inception, you know I had a series on everyday carry items.

Some of you know that I am about to go on one myself. I’m looking for a little feedback.

What would you bring? What items would you have in your bag on a vision quest?

What would you be looking for? What would you do?

I know for sure that I am not bringing headphones. What would you not bring?

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