Sunday, November 10, 2019

Growing Kale Indoors

Image result for redbor kale
Last summer, i put redbor kale in three of my flowerpots on the front step to add color and height. The pots--with the kale--came indoors in October. My kale plants are now 3 feet tall. I harvested the leaves for dinner tonight.

Kale is a cold weather crop, so it's still growing outdoors in the garden. And it's fun to have it growing indoors as well. One of the plants has baby kale sprouting all along its naked stem.

In the summer of our lives, what can we plant that will bear fruit (or vegetables) in the winter of our lives? Many people rely on family as their refuge. I remember my grandmother sitting in her recliner looking out her picture window and knitting slippers for her ten grandchildren. Nine out of ten of them lived hundreds of miles away as did two of her three daughters.

I rely on the Dharma for my refuge. Not matter the circumstances, no matter the internal "weather", the Dharma bears fruit.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Snow While the Sun is Shining

Yesterday it snowed while the sun was shining. Small snowflakes danced in the air, and dusted the frozen grass.

Sometimes, a person is the picture of perfect health and received a surprising diagnosis. Suddenly, the end is within sight. The winter of life has begun, and the sun is still shining.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Talking with Your Houseplants

by Guest Blogger, Dawn Downey


The leaves on my houseplant were yellow and limp, except for the ones that were brown and dead. When I leaned over to give the poor thing a final sip of water, my arm started tingling. The closer I got to the leaves, the stronger the tingling. Was the dying philodendron taking revenge, shooting a death ray at my innocent arm?

This required a lunch confab with Sami, the plant whisperer.

She said, “You were feeling the plant’s energy. The plant might communicate through the energy, to tell you how to revive it.”

Here was my chance to be one with nature, without the inconvenience of going outside.

Sami said, “Ask the plant yes/no questions. Something that’s obviously a no. Like, are you on the patio? Feel the tingling. Then ask an obvious yes. Like, are you in the bedroom? The yes energy will feel different than the no. After you can tell the difference, you move on to questions about what it needs to get healthy. You’ll be great at this. I knew you were a closet nature-lover.”

I was feeling oneness already.

“Most important,” Sami said, “you have to ask permission to be inside the plant’s energy.”

 After lunch, I ran straight to the bedroom, where the philodendron was wheezing out a death rattle. I leaned over, giving it an air hug. “Are you on the patio?”

Instead of tingling my arms this time, a downdraft of energy ruffled the hairs on the back of my neck. The plant was talking to me. Energy on the back of my neck meant no.

“Are you in the bedroom?”

Once again, the back of my neck was alive with vibrations.

But, was it more intense? Less intense? I couldn’t tell. I tried another yes. “Are you sick?”

The vibrations were definitely more intense. Then again, maybe not. I closed my eyes and tilted my head back in concentration. Aha! Now, the energy was brushing my face. Eureka. Energy on my face meant yes.

I opened my eyes. Damn. The ceiling fan was on.

When I need really smart answers, I rely on magic—I douse with a pendulum. When it takes me an hour to decide which sweater to wear, I ask the pendulum. The days I look really put together, that means the pendulum picked my outfit.

I held the pendulum (bargain model: car keys dangling from a leather shoelace.) in front of me. “Show me how the plant will say yes.” The keys swung side to side. “Show me how the plant will say no.” The keys swung in a circle. I repeated the exercise. Same result.

“Is the plant on the patio?”

The pendulum keys swung in a circle, for no. Excellent.

“Is the plant in the bedroom?”

Side to side, yes. Fabulous. Oneness, here we come. Today I save the plant. Tomorrow I save the planet.

Time for the big questions: Do you need more water? More sunlight?  A different owner? Then I remembered Sami’s final instruction. Get permission.

“Is it okay to be in the plant’s energy?”

The keys swung in a circle.

No? What do you mean, no?

“Does the plant want to talk to me?”

The keys spun faster than the ceiling fan.

Obviously, the pendulum was hard of hearing.

I shouted. “Does the plant want to talk to me?”

The rotation of the keys sped up.

“Stop kidding around. Does this plant want to talk to me?”

The keys rotated faster, the circle wider and wider. A tornado. My dreadlocks whipped around my head.
That’s it. The budding romance between the leafy world and me is off. I wanted to be one with Nature, but Nature didn’t want to be one with me.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

First Frost Finally Falls

When i woke up at 5:30 and the temperature was 33 degrees, i had a faint flicker of hope. But after an hour of meditation, the verdict was in. Frost. Frost after all. Yes, i expected frost, but denial is strong. Delusion hopes not really. Not yet. But yes. Yet. Now.

Only for an hour or two. But that hour is sufficient to kill the impatiens, the zinnias, the basil.

No use imagining excuses. If only.... But i could have.... If i'd only known.

Frost is. This is the is-ness of this morning. Frost.

No excuses.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Unhook the Hose

Related image
It's time to unhook the hoses from their outdoor faucets before water freezes in the hose. One more garden chore for this change of season.

I recently filled out my Advance Directives. I said that i did not want feeding tubes because, as a medical professional pointed out, tubes in means tubes out. Think catheter, for instance. When my body slows down, i want to allow Nature to take its course. That's when it's time to unhook the tubes.

The hoses watered the garden in its prime, but now that the garden's old age is here, it's time to put the garden to bed and unhook the hoses.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Hydrangea Bear

Here in New England, i often see scarecrow-type figures out on people's lawns at this time of year. My favorite this year is a bear made of dried hydrangea blossoms.

Isn't it funny how i say "bear" and see "bear," but there's no bear there at all? This is what our perception does--sees resemblances and patterns and names it "bear." Like the constellation Ursa Major (big bear), which includes the Big Dipper. There's no dipper, and there's no ursa (or bear). We are simply naming the pattern.

Our entire world is made of these perceptions. Fear is one of them. Anxiety another.

But this is the time of year when we sort of like to be scared; we like to scream--especially if we're trick-or-treating with friends.


Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Calavera Norteamericana

Mexico has its Calavera Catrina--dancing skeletons celebrating Dia de Muertos. Once in a while, i find a New England version of La Catrina. This one has long white hair, a long skirt, and many scarves. She sort of looks like someone i know.

Actually, we all look like this skeleton. But we are so busy looking at the packaging--the body shape, the skin, the clothes--that we fail to notice what's inside the package. Bones. Bones that will remain much longer than the lifespan of our flesh-and-blood bodies.

One meditation practice is to walk down the street, and simply notice the skeletons all around you. What a great practice to celebrate these next few days of Dia de Muertos.

For one of these days, we all will be muertos.