Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Our Native Path

I grew up eating canned spinach, which we each seasoned with a dash of cider vinegar from the cruet on the table.

Since discovering Baked Kale Salad at a vegan restaurant a couple of weeks ago, i've been baking kale halfway to kale chips, then slicing it into thin strips. Since the baked kale is already olive-oiled and salted, today i added a dash of balsamic vinegar. I was immediately transported to heaven. The taste is so reminiscent of my soul food. (And i'm sure fresh kale is better than canned spinach!)

Perhaps we grew up in a particular spiritual tradition that just doesn't fit us anymore. If we are lucky, we discover
Wonder what path will beckon this 10-year-old?
our native spiritual path--the one we've been on all along, perhaps without having the name for it. The more retreats i go on, the more i recognize that i was doing Buddhist practices when i was five, eight, and ten years old, even though i grew up in the heartland of America.

There's something very familiar about this path. And i have to say: It tastes delicious.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Zucchini Crime Rate

When Katie moved into our little town, she asked about the crime rate in the village (population 50). "None to speak of," said one neighbor. "Except in August, you'd best lock your car doors. Otherwise, you might could find a big old zucchini in the passenger seat when you get back into your car."

Hmmm. Is that generosity? It's not exactly "taking something which isn't offered." It's more like "giving something that isn't wanted." But everyone gets a big laugh out of it. And it gives the "crime victim" an opportunity to pull the same prank herself.

Monday, July 28, 2014

A Zucchini a Day

I'm harvesting 3 or 5 zucchinis every day, while they're still smallish. Obviously, I can't eat that much zucchini, so, on Sunday, the urban grandchildren picked 3 zucchinis each, and took them back to the city. Along with 3 big Walla Walla onions.

One of my neighbors, Whit & Tonia, have a lot going on this weekend--a married daughter home to give birth to her second child (this morning) and her father, my morning meditation neighbor, Whit, in the hospital for a still undetermined heart condition. He's having a defibrillator installed this afternoon. I took a zucchini casserole down for the 6 adults (Tonia, her 3 children and 2 spouses who were focusing on the 3 (now 4) grandchildren).

We practice generosity without even thinking about it.

We freely offer the fruits of our labors of love, the vegetables from our garden to our friends and neighbors. And our heart goes out to them.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Share Our Surplus

The township i live in (population 1,800) has 3 tiny villages. One committee, the Transition (to Energy Independence) committee, has a Share Our Surplus program (S.O.S.). Every Saturday in July and August, they set up 3 farmstands--one in the east village, one in the west village, and one in the center village. If you're driving by, you can pick up or deliver the surplus from your garden. At the end of the day, a volunteer takes whatever remains to the Food Shelf in the nearby town.

All sorts of generosity are at work here:
  • the generosity of the gardeners who donate their extra veggies
  • the generosity of the volunteers on the committee who do all sorts of schlepping
  • even the generosity of the people who pick up free vegetables, thereby saving someone the work of disposal

Generosity is the first step on our spiritual path, and that path begins with a trip to your vegetable garden. Share your surplus with someone today.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Black Plastic Pros & Cons

Carole laid down black plastic in her vegetable garden to absorb and increase the heat in the soil for her peppers and tomatoes as well as to suppress the weeds. Now, a tribe of voles has taken up residence under the black plastic, and are pruning every plant in sight. Not only the broccoli and the beans, but also the peppers, including the hot peppers. (I wonder if the leaves and stems are as hot as the peppers?)

 We too lay down various forms of weedy thought suppression: Oh, i shouldn't think that or Oh, i shouldn't feel that way or I don't want to feel this painful feeling.

We try to grow nice-ness as our cover crop. And what happens? When we're not looking, our best efforts are nibbled away, undermined by the very feeling/thought we are trying to suppress.

Mindfulness is our refuge. Lean into that unpleasant feeling as if it's an acupressure point. Make friends with that unpleasant thought/feeling.

That's the way to grow a garden. Pepper your life with mindfulness.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Goodbye, Lawn Mower

It's time to trade in the lawn mower. It has become incontinent--leaking oil onto the garage floor. Even though it just had its annual physical exam at the hardware store a couple of months ago, it's now back there again, on life support. This faithful servant of 22 years has to be retired from service.

The man who is the mower of the lawn at my house still loves to ride around in green circles for an hour every other week. He's 78, and he probably doesn't have 22 years of service remaining. Nevertheless, he is choosing a new riding mower and continuing to serve his community in many different ways. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Zucchini: While It's Still Small

I picked my first zucchinis this morning. I caught them while they are still less than 8 inches long. Whew!

We try to catch our bad habits while they are still small, still just a thought in the mind. We pay close attention to that thought, just as we (hopefully) pay close attention to that baby zucchini.

Sink into that thought, whether it's irritation, impatience, desire, or what have you. Label it. Label it out loud, so that you can hear yourself being mindful. Label it out loud, so that you can hear mindfulness above the inner din.

I'll be eating zucchini for dinner this evening.