Thursday, December 3, 2020

Native Sun Chokes

 It's time for Jerusalem artichokes, which are now marketed as "sun chokes." One friend says sun chokes are better than potatoes. Sun chokes are just a little bit sweet.

I like all the perennial vegetables (and fruits) that show up in my garden. I do hardly anything, and voila! There they are.

If i want to decolonize my diet, sun chokes are a good way to begin. They were grown by the indigenous peoples of North America. They are native to this continent. No fossil fuels were used in the transport of this vegetable. Just foot power. One foot for the spade to dig them up, and two feet to walk them from the garden to kitchen.


Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Skeleton in Bardo

That skeleton i bought at the hardware store for Halloween is still sitting on my front step. She's halfway between holidays, wearing a red scarf and surrounded by fall gourds.

The weather has not yet turned wintry. We are halfway between seasons--no longer fall, but not quite winter.

In Tibetan, the between place is called bardo. We can practice dying by being aware of the stages of falling asleep--that bardo of not awake but not quite asleep either.

The skeleton is in the bardo of between lives. The former fleshly life is gone. Who knows what happens next?

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Welcome and Unwelcome

 This morning i meditated outdoors on the deck at 6:00 a.m. The temperature was balmy and the breeze light. The sun didn't rise until after meditation ended at 7:00.

Welcome December.

I haven't meditated outdoors for more than a month, but if it's over 50 degrees, i sit on the deck and meditate with the birds and the squirrel. (They are doing eating meditation.)

It's too warm for December, and that's unwelcome, but the day was delightful. So easy to spend it outdoors doing some more last-minute chores. Putting up Christmas lights was fun.

We welcome even the unwelcome.

Empty Wreaths

I bought 3 grapevine wreaths at the last Farmers Market of the summer season. The last Farmers Market i could go to in person. Now, the Farmers Markets around me have switched to order on line with curbside pick-up.

I thought the wreaths would be fun to take to the annual wreath-making party at a friend's house, but, of course, she has cancelled that event for this year. So now i'm home alone with 3 empty wreaths. Sigh.

Empty. Thanksgiving empty of friends to eat with, but not empty of friends to share thanks with. A wreath-making party empty of party, but not empty of wreaths.

Sunday, November 29, 2020


I took a walk in the woods yesterday and found a hundred yards of myrtle. No house could be seen, but i was walking on an old logging road, probably now used once a year for sugaring. Perhaps that dip near the road was an old cellar hole? Someone lived here once upon a time, but all traces of human habitation have disappeared. Except for rampant myrtle.

In Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Georgia, myrtle is an invasive species. Our local garden club, Perennial Swappers, forbids gardeners bringing myrtle to give away. We know what it's going to look like a hundred years from now.

Karma is like this. We indulge in just a little bit of unskillful action--gossip, one drink too many, taking something when no one is looking.

Thoughts become words.

Words become deeds.

Deeds develop into habits.

Habits harden into character.

Watch the mind and its ways with care, born out of concern for all beings.

Our unskillful thoughts, words, and behaviors follow us past death. Old cemeteries here in New England are often surrounded by myrtle (Vinca).

Saturday, November 28, 2020



Three flickers sat in the winterberry shrub eating berries. So exciting to see a local bird eating local berries in my back yard.

The flickers are beautiful all by themselves. The red winter berries stand out against the tan and gray November landscape. Beauty all around me.

I love the Beauty Way prayer of the Navajo. Here's an excerpt.

I walk with beauty before me. 

I walk with beauty behind me.

I walk with beauty below me. 

I walk with beauty above me.
I walk with beauty around me. 

My words will be beautiful.
In beauty all day long may I walk.
Through the returning seasons, may I walk.

 Substitute the word "mindfulness" for the word "beauty," and feel the prayer in the body. Then return to the word "beauty."

May we all walk in beauty.

The flickers fly in beauty.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Turkey Carcass

My Halloween skeleton is still sitting on my front step waving at everyone who walks by. 

Yesterday, we took a turkey apart piece by piece, bone by bone. Today, we have an opportunity to look closely at the turkey skeleton if we are making turkey soup out of the carcass. Look at that turkey leg. It's reminiscent of our own leg bones. Look at that turkey wing. There's a single bone, and then, bent back, is the less meaty two-bone section. The neck bones, the back ribs.

The Buddha recommends a charnel ground meditation. Although we don't have charnel grounds any more, we can take a close look at the turkey carcass, see the resemblance to our own carcass, and contemplate skin, flesh, and bones.

The skeleton on my front step thinks that's funny.