Saturday, March 28, 2020

A Tu-lip Kiss

Yesterday i delivered 4 pots of tulips to friends.

One friend has a terminal illness and is jumping through the medical hoops so he can take "the pill" if he so desires--probably within the next 2 months. One pot of tulips to my masseuse. Oh, i could really use a massage about now. I stopped by to visit an extrovert couple who love company. We sat outdoors on their deck, about 10 feet apart. And the last one to a neighbor.

I've never been good at "dropping by" anyone's home, but yesterday i had the time to go out of my way and meander home. It didn't really take that long to stop and deliver some flowery cheer and exchange a few words--from a distance. I rather like this slowed-down pace.

The tulips have to serve as my virtual hug and kiss on the cheek.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Daffodils in the Snow

Daffodil leaves are popping up through the snow. We are in the midst of winter-spring. Or is that spring-winter?

This is one of the problems with concepts and categories. We think "spring" means spring and "winter" means winter. Meanwhile, each day is full of changes. Sun, snow, rain, ice, and a new word my sister discovered "graupel," which means a soft, snowy hail.

Change. Every day the weather changes. Maybe we need 31 different words for each day in March to describe various combinations of conditions? Even then, dissatisfaction would creep in because spring or winter or the in-between doesn't look like it's "supposed to."

Keep your eye on the change. It's a deep teaching.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

My Tulips are Blooming

The tulips i forced in pots and brought indoors are starting to bloom. So outdoors they go, because they will last longer in the refrigerator weather out there.

The bulbs, which have been hiding out in the gloom of the garage for 4 months, are out in the open air. I think that's a good sign for me, who has been quarantined at home for less than 2 weeks.

Today i was out in a neighbor's woods, cutting down saplings with a friend. We stayed at least 6 feet apart from each other's saws. We are clearing the understory to allow more light and air.

That's what we all need: more light and more air.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Wonderful World of White

A wonderful world of white awaited me this morning. Beautiful, soft, and quiet. Sort of like meditation on a good day.

The world slows down to a whisper. Am i bored? Not much. Do i feel the impulse to move? Not really.

When the mind is dissatisfied, the body wants to move to escape that dissatisfaction. Or the mind throws up an entire stockade of thoughts--another escape.

Can i be satisfied with this wonderful world of white?

Monday, March 23, 2020

If All Else Fails....

Diana's Garden
Plant yourself a garden. Today. No flowers? No problem. Choose a flower pot and just start sticking pretty things in it. Fake flowers are fine. Use what you have, and be creative.

Cheer yourself up. Let yourself smile. Pretend like you are 6 years old and have a good time.

Then quietly check in with your mood. How do you feel? Pleasant? Or unpleasant?

My Dharma friend, Diana's garden definitely makes me smile.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Cold Last Night

Last night, the temperature here dropped to 21 degrees, so yesterday afternoon, i brought many of my potted tulips indoors. Now, i'm waiting for them to bloom in another week or two.

My sweetie and i are also waiting to see if the virus "blooms" in us. We flew home a week ago. Yes? Or no? The answer is "Don't know."

Consider how many thousands of things we don't know.
What am i eating for lunch? Don't know.
When will i take a nap? Don't know.
Where will i take a walk today? Don't know.

Those little don't-knows don't bother my mind. But then the mind latches on to one don't-know and keeps touching it like worry beads.

I open to not knowing.

Can you say that and feel it?

I am not willing to open to not knowing, because....

List whatever comes to mind. No judgment. Just listen to your list.

Infinite Not Knowing.

How does that feel?

Even the tulips do not know when they will bloom.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Hellebore is Blooming

Image result for "hellebore niger"
Hellebore niger, also called Christmas rose, is blooming now. I much prefer niger to the usual Hellebore orientalis, which blooms later. The "Christmas rose" can be found at my food co-op in December, but in the spring i can't find it anywhere.

The niger blossoms face out as opposed to the facing-down flowers of orientalis. Perhaps orientalis is shy? Perhaps it doesn't want to look me straight in the eye?

When we gaze into someone's eyes for several seconds, we receive a burst of oxytocin--the bonding hormone. As a result, we feel warm and friendly and maybe even love for the other.

Try gazing at a dear one for a few seconds longer than usual. Or be really daring and gaze at someone you don't know very well. How does that feel?

When Hellebore niger blooms so early in the sprint, it's a sight for sore eyes.

Hellebore orientalis

Friday, March 20, 2020

The Snowplow Does Some Transplanting for Me

A big pile of driveway dirt and gravel sits at the end of the snowplow's run.  Two coral bells lie loose in the pile. That snowplow! It did some gardening for me this winter and transplanted those heuchera in a driveway terminal moraine* of sand and rocks.

Hmmm. I wonder where those heuchera are supposed to be. I guess they are supposed to be where they are. My gardener's mind just had different plans for these plants.

See how easily stress creeps in? I want something different than what is.

Do i want to rake the moraine back onto the driveway? No.
Do i want to transplant the heuchera? No. But yes, of course, i will.

Every "no" is stressful.

Do i want to be quarantined at home?

What a great opportunity to be out in the garden every day.

*A terminal moraine is the pile of of rocks bulldozed by a glacier at the furthest reach of the ice. A moraine is revealed as the glacier melts back.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Sunny and Warm

53 degrees and the sun is shining. I brought the deck chairs up from the basement so i could have lunch on the deck in my shirt sleeves and barefoot.

Oh, spring! I love you. Even though it's still March. Even though it will be another month before i take the snow tires off my car. Another 4 weeks before i store the snow shovel back in the garage.

Everything changes. Especially the weather. Especially in March.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Tulips in Flowerpots

In December, i planted tulip bulbs in flowerpots and set them in the garage. Now, they are six inches tall, so i'm bringing some inside to hurry up their blooms. The others are sitting in the waiting room of the front step.

Some of us bloom early, some late. Some of us zoom through school and hurry into adulthood. Some of us lag behind. Some careers take off, and some don't. Some bodies die faster than others.

Patience is the name of the game. Trust that Life (or whatever you may call it) is taking care of us.

Even the outdoor tulips will bloom eventually.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

No Potatoes

After 10 days away, we returned from vacation and stopped at the food co-op to stock up on supplies. No potatoes. No onions either.

This is where my personal "victory" garden comes in handy.  I have six meals of last summer's potatoes stored in my basement. Right outside the back door, the Egyptian onions are sprouting green. I can eat out of my garden, right now.

Mindfulness is never far away. Mindfulness brings us right into the present moment where peace lives. Yes, peace in this present moment. Right now.

Feel this moment. Don't fry your mind by lolly-gagging in the future. Come right back here to this present  moment. My moment is fine. How about yours?

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Breakfast with a Heron

Our 3-star hotel sits in front of a marina, so last night and this morning, i took a beach chair out of the trunk, so i could sit and watch the water while i ate a warmed-over breakfast (last night's dinner). Just below me a heron waded in the water, as if she didn't even see me.

She was eating her breakfast too, poking her bill into the sand, grabbing something-or-other, and gulp-gulp, swallowing down her long throat.

Just think of all the emotions we swallow every day. We swallow our feelings because we are adults--we are not children who freely express every little emotional cloud that blows through their small bodies.

As adults we swallow our feelings, and there they lodge, stuck in the body. Sometimes, you can literally read another person's emotions by the (somatic) complaint/illness in their body. For instance, my sweetie's back used to go out every time i left home for a week. "You're mad at me," i would tell him. He denied it for several years until a male friend told him that a lot of lower back problems are caused by stuffed anger. That's when my sweetie looked inside and said, "Yes, i get mad at you when you abandon me for a week." After that, his back didn't go out again for 20 years.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Azaleas Mirrored

The azalea bouquet in our hotel lobby sits on a mirrored table. I'm tempted to simply gaze at the beautiful reflection.

We often focus on the reflection rather than noticing the mirror, the screen of awareness behind/around the object that grabs our attention.

Awareness is all around us. It's invisible and difficult to notice. Yet awareness is alive. Awareness says Yes to everything.

Sunday, March 8, 2020


We are taking a break from mud season in the North Country by taking a vacation in the Florida panhandle where camellias are blooming. Delicate camellias are short-lived; they quickly turn brown and pass away. Yet while they live, i can't take my eyes off them. So lovely. So young. So full of promise.

A 38-year-old friend has been diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer. She is opting for wholistic treatment, and she is extremely clear about this. She has two young children. She bought an old house a couple of years ago and has refurbished it. So lovely. So young. So full of promise.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Blue Orchid

My neighbor and i went to the Temple Forest Monastery yesterday morning.

Since monastics are not allowed to cook for themselves, they rely on the generosity of the community to provide the meals. 5 kitchen volunteers cooked up sufficient food for 25 people. On the table were Thai curries and dragonfruit.

The monastics ate first; then it was time for the lay people to walk around the buffet table.

The 11 monks are on their annual 3-month retreat. Nevertheless, we had a sweet conversation with Ajahn Chaganando after lunch. My neighbor took a bag of apples as her offering; i took a bag full of various tick repellents. The monks live in tiny cabins out in the New England forest, which is rife with deer ticks.

I admired the orchids on the altar, and couldn't take my eyes off the blue and purple orchid.

Generosity goes round and round. I give; they give; you give.

Thank you dear reader.