Saturday, June 11, 2016

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Squirrel Poop

Every morning i put a handful of sunflower seeds on the railing of our second-story deck. It's enough to feed the birds for a few hours. Or it's enough for a squirrel's breakfast. Devoured in 10 minutes. And as a thank-you gift, she leaves her calling cards--two 1/4 teaspoon yellow puddles and five pellets that are slightly larger than chocolate sprinkles.

I flick the "chocolate sprinkles" off the rail and into my flower bed below the deck. I wonder, idly, how long it would take me to fertilize a single plant with squirrel poop.

I attended the hospice memorial planting service at the hospice garden last evening. A friend showed me the matchbox in which she carries her son's ashes. She leaves these spoonsful of ashes all over town, near the places he used to frequent. She said she put some of his ashes under the cherry tree in her yard along with some of his father's ashes. The other day, she looked at the tree and realized her son and his father were in the tree. Literally. Their ashes-to-ashes, their dust-to-dust, their earth element was feeding that tree.

I could feel her vibrating with that visceral recognition.

May we all recognize our one-ness with Life.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Broken Snail Shells

My itsy-bitsy fishpond (4 feet wide and 3 feet deep), like all fishponds, gets mucky when the water warms up in the summer. Several years ago, i bought a "pond cleaner package" from a pond supply company, consisting of snails and some pond vegetation.  The vegetation didn't live long, but my little pond has hundreds of snails. And now that the weather is warming up, the pond is growing that long green algae "hair" along the sides. So much for the snails cleaning things up.

The raccoons, however, are cleaning up on the snails. Perhaps i should say "escargot." Every morning when i feed the fish, i see 4 or 5 broken snail shells without their occupants.

The snails' shells are non-descript black with algae growing on them. The broken shells are iridescent and fascinating. Those snails live in beautiful homes, i must say.

We can live in a beautiful mind. We already know what the gunky mind feels like and sounds like. The beautiful mind is kind and compassionate. The beautiful mind is patient and generous.

Let's live there, even if we are in difficult circumstances.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Lovely Foxgloves

Lovely foxgloves are blooming. I keep transplanting them from the strip beds next to the vegetable garden into my flowerbeds. But foxgloves grow where they want to grow, and not where i want them to grow.

I have spent years transplanting foxgloves into my purple flowerbed. They don't "take." They limp along. They don't reseed themselves there. They reseed themselves profusely near the vegetable garden. Hmmmm.

Even though the foxgloves don't necessarily bloom where they are planted, that's no excuse for us. "Bloom where you are planted" might mean making lemonade out of lemons. It might mean "being contented and easily satisfied"* with second-best. Or it might mean moving yourself to a different job, a different family, a different location--a place where conditions are right for your particular talent to bloom.

I myself am practicing being contented and easily satisfied with second-best. The situation is not ideal; it's not what i wanted, but it's what life delivered.

Just because the foxgloves are fussy, i don't need to be fussy too.

*A line from the Metta Sutta.

Friday, June 3, 2016

I Love Irises

I love irises. Such a sweet fragrance. And they are so short-lived. Iris season lasts maybe 2 weeks.

Here today. Gone next week.

Enjoy this moment of joy.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Weedy Milkweed

Milkweed is living up to its name--weed. Suddenly it's growing in several of my flower beds. Wha-a-a??? I want it to grow where i want it to grow, not where it wants to grow. I want to support monarch butterflies, just in case there are any around, but i don't want a milkweed garden. Hoo-boy. What to do?

I'm pulling the milkweed out of my flowerbeds, though the roots run deep and are beyond the reach of my shovel.

Our own roots of suffering run deep underground. Take your pick--greed, aversion, delusion, or maybe all three. Don't despair. Begin by being mindful of what your particular "weed" looks like, feels like, what it says in times of stress. Get to know the habit and habitat of your "weed." No need to feel guilty or beat yourself up. That just fertilizes the habit of aversion. Simply notice.

Notice what's growing in your garden.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Rest the Body

Nonnie, Christmas, 1985
My gardening grandmother, who was crippled by arthritis for the last 30 years of her life, often chuckled that she had a hitch in her git-along. Now i have a hitch in my git-along too. I can't even bend over. Oh! It is so hard to look at the garden and not be able to do anything. I can't pull a weed or transplant tomatoes or.... anything.

The Buddha recommends the Five Daily Reflections to us:
  1. I am of the nature to become old. Aging is inevitable.
  2. I am of the nature to become ill (and have a hitch in my git-along).
  3. I am of the nature to die. Death is unavoidable.
  4. Everything i cherish (like the garden) will change and vanish.
  5. My actions are the only thing i own.
I'm focused on the body this week--aging and not doing what the mind wants it to do. The relationship between body and mind becomes clear: the mind orders the body around and the body thoughtlessly obeys, until it just can't do it. The body sends pain signals, which the mind responds to with impatience. The mind throws a tantrum. But this is so inconvenient! I want my functioning body back!

The body has been the slave of the mind for all these years. The body is aging. The body has been stressed and strained. The body wants to rest.

Rest in the garden. Rest in peace.