Saturday, November 30, 2019

Last Chance

Snow is coming tomorrow. Today is the last chance, THE LAST CHANCE to dig leeks or carrots out of the garden. The last chance to put away lawn chairs and garden ornaments. The last chance to get the wood in. The last chance to move things out of the way of the snowplow. The last chance to turn over buckets so water doesn't freeze inside and crack them.

We usually don't know when it's our last chance to say good-bye. Sometimes people slip away before we are ready.

This year's garden slips away tomorrow. Farewell, dear garden.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Coco Puff

I bought an amaryllis kit that surprised me. The "potting medium" was a coco disc, about 3 inches in diameter and an inch thick. That's it? That's the potting soil?

I added 2-1/2 cups of water, and the coco puffed up to not quite fill the flowerpot. Just enough room left, to add the amaryllis bulb and leave about 1/3 of it uncovered.

Wow. That was easy and not messy. No muss; no fuss.

The Four Noble Truths are a telegram of the Buddha's deeper teachings.

1. Dissatisfaction (dukkha) exists.
2. The cause of discontent is craving and attachment.
3. Dissatisfaction can cease.
4. The 8-fold Noble Path is the way.

When we start to unpack them, they expand into a hologram of teachings.

But for now, let's just admire the compactness of this telegram. When we water it with meditation and attention, our understanding will expand.

The coco disk was compact. And then, when i added water, it grew.

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

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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.