Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Awareness of Forget-Me-Nots

Forget-me-nots form a sky-blue cloud floating on several of my flower beds. The dashes of color--purple money plant, the white bells of leucojum--poke out above the ground-hugging blue cloud. Naturally enough, our attention focuses on the taller red tulip or yellow daffodil or purple money plant. This is a gardener's definition of attention.

That blue haze at the base of the garden represents our peripheral awareness. While we focus on the beautiful, the different, the unique, we are also aware of bird song, cool breeze, and that blue haze of forget-me-nots.

Try this in your meditation. Spend one period of meditation simply noticing how the mind works. Hearing, seeing, feeling are all happening in the background, then the mind is drawn to something or other (probably a thought) and focuses on that.

Smile. You've just succeeded at noticing the difference between attention and awareness.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Still Eating Fiddleheads

We are still eating fiddleheads here at my house and garden. I don't believe i've ever harvested fiddleheads this late in the spring. I used to think that fiddlehead season was the first week of May, but in recent years, it has moved to the last week of April with May 1 being absolutely too late to pick them.

This past April was cold, so the spring gardens got a slow start. Then i was away for 5 days, and when i returned the fiddleheads had unfurled their fronds into their full fernness. The fiddlehead that we eat is the sprout of the ostrich ferns; most other fern fiddleheads are unsuitable for eating. The ostrich fiddleheads taste like a combination of asparagus and spinach.

But my sweetie found one fern patch in the partial shade. The other ferns there were up and about, but the fiddleheads were just poking up. One or the other of us goes to that wild patch every day to harvest fiddleheads. This assures that we continue to find more young sprouts, even in mid-May.

Even when life offers us setbacks, our life energy keeps on going. There's no need to take the setbacks personally. Simply notice that things change and keep on changing. Even the fiddlehead ferns.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Woodland and Prairie

Last weekend i went to a wedding in northern Indiana, just at the western edge of the Eastern Woodlands. The habitat of hardwood forests originally stretched for a thousand miles from the Atlantic coast all the way to the present Indiana-Illinois border. As i drove toward the Illinois border, i could see where the woodlands (which are now mostly Hoosier cornfields) gave way to the prairie. The fields had fencerows filled with redbuds, and then suddenly, there were no trees growing in the fencerows. No more beautiful redbuds, which had nearly lined the interstate for an hour.

I was also seeing what couldn't be seen--the results of 100,000 years of glaciers advancing and receding. The land changed from ever so slightly rolling to absolutely flat--bulldozed by glaciers, but also by sedimentation from a proto-Lake Michigan, which expanded a hundred miles beyond its current shore. Flat, flat, flat.

The woodlands are rich in ephemeral wildflowers--spring beauties, phlox divercata, trillium. The prairie is a rich grassland, a savannah.

What i was seeing was the result of soil and rain--a little more here, a little less there.

What conditions are you creating for yourself? This moment conditions the next moment. When we bulldoze a situation with our opinions, it flattens other people's response to us. When we grow flowers of kindness and happiness, our future moments are more likely to be flavored with kindness.

You choose.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Earthworms Hiding

Image result for earthwormI planted onion seedlings yesterday. The earthworms i saw were small and sluggish, hiding from the newly hoed furrow. So i covered them and the onion seedlings up quickly.

Sometimes we want to go back into hiding, stay in bed, avoid our meditation practice while we hole up with our smart phone.

We know what's good for us.
You know what's good for you.

Lethargy and sleepiness are a hindrance--to your meditation and to your life.

Live according to your heart, according to your highest intention.  Wake up to this present moment.


Monday, April 30, 2018

Sweet Daphne


Sweet-smelling daphne mezereum is blooming. It's a small shrub with small flowers, but if you stand close to admire it, you can smell the heavenly fragrance of daphne.

I first saw daphne mezereum growing in the middle of a stone wall when i was on a day-long walkabout, prior to doing a 3-day Vision Quest one April. I was gathering found objects for my Quest, and, although i couldn't take the daphne with me, that memory has stayed with me through the decades. When my gardening friend Ruth asked me if i wanted a daphne, of course i said Yes!

Such is the generosity of Nature. Such is the generosity of friends.



Sunday, April 29, 2018

New Compost Bin At Long Last

I finally did a project yesterday, which had been waiting for 8 months. I rebuilt one of my three compost bins. Two compost bins were full of last fall's garden detritus. I use a third bin as compost for potting up plants i've divided from the garden. But that bin was completely empty. The pallets that make the bin were burned in the winter solstice bonfire.

Finally. Finally, i stopped procrastinating and went looking for pallets. This was the unpleasant task i dreaded. My usual sources of pallets had dried up, so now what?

As an introvert, i avoid making phone calls, except in those moments when i just pick up the phone and do it. I had managed to not drive the truck to town to scout out possible pallet sources; I'd rather drive my car to town.

So many avoidance strategies. Such a long line of unpleasant thoughts: need new bin; don't know where to find pallets; don't want to call and ask; don't want to take the time; don't want to stop and ask.

And then the day came. Someone told me where to find pallets. I drove there. I asked. I loaded up my truck. As simple as that.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Lonesome Dove

Image result for one legged dove
Our lonesome, one-legged dove survived the winter and visits us often every day. She's not only single-legged, she's a single female--she doesn't have a mate--which is unusual for mourning doves. Perhaps she's in mourning?

If she's lonely, she seems to have adopted us. She spends long minutes, sitting on the railing of our deck, not eating sunflower seeds, just cogitating her dove-y thoughts.

Feeling alone is one of our basic human emotions. It manifests in various flavors, such as I don't belong... or I feel left out.

On the one hand, we all belong to the human race. And on the other hand, since it's all emptiness, there's nothing and no one to belong to.

So the next time you feel like a lonesome dove yourself, remember this poem by Kahlil Gibran.

On Children
 Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.