Friday, November 11, 2016

Tropical Plants in the Tropics

My sweetie and i are vacationing in Hawai'i for a week. Croton, ginger, and bird of paradise are growing right outside the door of the condo we are renting for a few days.

Oh, how i love to see these "houseplants" in their native setting. They look so happy and vigorous. I used to aspire to growing these tropical plants at home, but now the sight of tropical plants in the tropics is enough to make me want to stop growing these plants at home. Their cousins in the North Country--at least in my solarium--are pale and leggy by comparison.

We are at our best when we put ourselves in the proper environment to grow the beautiful qualities of mind we want to grow. Sometimes that means not listening to the news.

Or, if we decide to listen to the news, take it in teaspoonsful and antidote any negativity with 5 teaspoons of goodness.

This week, the good i am focusing on is being on vacation with my sweetie and luxuriating in the tropical foliage i love.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Blooming Late in the Season

Today i walked through the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden in Portland Oregon with a 91-year-old friend. It's November and rhododendrons are blooming.

I also saw snowdrops and cyclamen.  Throughout the day, i have seen nasturtium, dandelions, chickory, and herb robert. No matter the lateness of the season, some few flowers are beautifully in bloom.

So it is with us. Some of us are still blooming into our 90s. Our friends and relatives have faded and withered away. We alone have somehow survived to enjoy life. This life. Despite feeling rather alone and lonely.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Late Harvest

photo from
We are leaving for vacation tomorrow, which means giving all the vegetables in the refrigerator away. Finding a home for the red peppers was easy. I sun-dried one rack of Sungold cherry tomatoes. I decided to keep my 6 red cabbage, ranging in size from small to smallest.

In order not to have any leftovers, i cooked up the smallest cabbage tonight with some homegrown onions and the only remaining apple. Delicious.

When it comes to the end of our own season, we will be harvesting the mind we've been training all these years. The untrained mind may be unpredictable. The trained mind, the mind accustomed to mindfulness, has a much better chance of viewing the ending of the season of the life more calmly.

The seasons change.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Someone's Been Eating My Parsley

Someone's been eating my parsley. Harrumph.

I went out with clippers to cut my parsley harvest and make delicious parsley pesto, but all i have is a few sprigs. Who's been eating it? Deer? Groundhogs? Squirrels?

Wah! I wanted parsley, but i didn't get it.

The Buddha warns us about being separated from that which we love. This is one form of dukkha, also called stress or suffering. Or one teacher translates it as "Bummer!"

I'm bummed out that "my" parsley has disappeared. Oh, right. This is what happens when we are attached to results.

One result is no parsley pesto.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Goodbye Kwanzan Cherry

My sweetie bought a Kwanzan cherry tree for me for Mother's Day about 20 years ago. Our lawn was really too shady for it, so it limped along, performing beautifully one year, then not again for several years. This summer, several branches died. Last week, my sweetie cut it down.

I actually feel relieved to have that space open up to plain grass. Now there's space. Ahhh.

This is the feeling i had when my father died many years ago. The mighty oak in the forest had fallen, and now there was enough sunlight for my spindly little tree to grow up, up toward the sun. Suddenly, i saw the expectations he had had of me. Suddenly, i felt the weight of those expectations, which fell from me effortlessly. Now i had room to breathe.

We all carry unacknowledged expectations--from parents, spouse, family, and friends. Under the rah-rah of "our family!" lies a unique and authentic heart. Yours.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Departing Garden

27 degrees this morning. This hard frost is the death knell for geraniums and chard. Petunias and parsley limp along. Broccoli, kale, and cabbage still live.

Halloween is the hallowed evening before All Saints Day (November 1), before the day of the dead, El dia de los muertos.

While Mexico celebrates with the departed spirits of dear ones and family members, i mourn the loss of my departing garden.