Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Birds' Nests

Now that the leaves have fallen off the trees, i am suddenly seeing birds' nests. All at once, the nests are in plain sight. That means i've been walking by them all summer and never even noticed.

This "not-noticing" is an aspect of delusion, which is one of the 3 roots of stress and suffering. Mindfulness is all about noticing--noticing the foreground and noticing the background.

When we don't notice our life, we are running on automatic pilot. We proceed based on our assumptions, which usually works out well enough for us.

But the unexpected always happens eventually, and then we are shocked by the change. Living on automatic pilot is so much more comfortable than actually noticing moment-to-moment change.

Change. The season has changed. The tree leaves have changed. The weather has changed.

And birds are flying south.
The long strands are shreds of plastic.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Change of Life. Change of Season.

Suddenly, the trees are bare. Two days ago, the maples still wore their red and yellow leaves. Then a tremendous wind blew through, ripping everything to shreds. The bare trees look unlovely now. Change of life; change of season.

When we women go through the change of life, our beauty leaves, and people (men, in particular) no longer look at us or even see us. They look right through us.

But suddenly we can see clearly. All those decades we were at the mercy of our hormones. It turns out, that's not who we really are.

Now that the trees have lost their leaves, i can see so much farther into the woods.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Two Months Worth of Tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes from One Plant
Frost is coming so i'm harvesting the very last of the cherry tomatoes--from one plant. This is the single plant that i blogged about on September 17. It turned into a jungle as it clambered down a stone wall. (Think: heat!)

What abundance! That's 2 gallons of tomatoes from one plant--in October! I smell like tomato leaves.

We are a month away from Thanksgiving, but i am feeling very grateful for this overflowing harvest.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Exercises for the Gardening Back

My precious gardening back went out last spring when i was in handstand class at the circus school. My back (my sacro-iliac joint, to be specific) had been sending me warning signals for a couple of months. It turned out my problem was too much bending forward.

The physical therapist now has me doing lots of back bends. When i go to yoga class, i don't do any of the bend-forward positions (cat-cow, downward-facing dog, happy baby, etc.) I only do back bends, like upward-facing dog, sphinx, cobra, bridge, fish, and camel.

The ache in my back is very minimal now, but the physical therapist assures me it can be totally zeroed out. At my last appointment, she asked what my pain level was, on a scale of zero to ten. "It's not really pain," i said. "It's a twinge. Maybe about point five." Then she asked me to do upward-facing dog. She asked about pain level again. "Oh, maybe point three," i said.

That's when i noticed that the exercises do make a difference. This is the effect of mindfulness--noticing even these minute changes.

I'm a very haphazard exerciser. Oh, the exercises don't make that much difference, i think to myself. But now, i see/feel that even the tiny difference from .5 to .3 is a difference.Mindfulness of this tiny improvement gives me more confidence in my exercises.

Mindfulness of the tiny improvement meditation makes in our life gives us more faith in the value of meditation.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Feather Red Mustard

A couple of years ago, i bought Feather Red Mustard, more for its decorative qualities than for culinary purposes. To my delight it has reseeded itself again and again. I had one crop last spring. Now that the weather is cool, i have another crop.

Since color in the fall garden is fading, these burgundy red leaves add a welcome dash of color to my herb garden. And the featheriness of the leaves adds interest.

Even in the autumn of our lives, when we've lost the pzazz we once had, when our looks have faded, when our bodies become feather-light and fragile, we can still  offer a dash of color to the world around us--through our good deeds and open-heartedness.

Changing Seasons, Changing Tastes

It's fascinating how my tastebuds change with the seasons. Even though i have ripe garden tomatoes sitting on the window sill, i don't get around to eating them. I'm hungry for winter squash and kale. I'm done with fresh corn, even though it's still available at the nearby farm stand.

When we are young, we think we are our hormones. Oh, how sexy we think we are. But then, the sexy season changes, and i'm not hungry for sex any more. In middle age, we are so smart and know-it-all, but then the career season changes, and we look at middle-aged people and smile. We are married, and we think we are such a strong, dynamic couple, but then one dies, and suddenly we see that what we thought was "me" was really "us."

Seasons change. Our tastes change. Our very selves change. So who are we? Really?

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Pumpkin Seedlings

Two pumpkins rotted before i could pick them. I was thinking, Oh, boy. Pumpkins will grow right here next year. But they are growing right now.

Pumpkin seedlings in October? This does not augur a good outcome since frost is due next week.

Our rotten old experience sometimes composts in amazing ways. Like growing something new and beautiful.

Nevertheless, nothing survives. Impermanence comes sooner or later. In this case: sooner. Much too soon.