This week has been full of joy, days unfolding in unexpected ways as I reconnect with my Vermont community, drop by to dig in the dirt with friends and scratch the ears of the new lambs, sit on porches, walk in the park, worry not-so-much, and notice that I’m stronger than I’ve been in many months.
On Saturday night, by the grace of cosmic alignment, I was in Middlebury, VT for the great privilege of hearing the a cappella group WomenSing perform. I don’t go out late at night far from home. I stay close to home and close to bed most of the time. But on Saturday night I got over it. I’ve wanted to hear this group of women sing for years and this was my chance. And sometimes we have to go way out of the way to put ourselves in the path of joy.
As much as we do well to let go of trying to get our lives to go our way, I’ve learned we also must take our joy seriously, notice when it arises spontaneously, notice what conditions seem to bring happiness forward, and make these conditions part of our lives. For years I experienced great joy in the garden, but I was so busy trying to wrestle my life to the ground, get somewhere else, be someone else, I didn’t know to cultivate the joy that was already present when I rooted in the dirt.
Singing voices bring me joy. I sat in the audience on Saturday night and wept and grinned while my whole body vibrated with song. Everyone around me was listening as joyously as the singers were singing and all of us together were in perfect harmony. I had lots of energy for the two-hour drive back to Montpelier and I woke the next day early (for me, probably late for you) and with none of my usual aches and pains or sluggishness. The community and vibration of the night before had opened channels only joy and song can open.
I gave away many envelopes of calendula seed that I collected last year and reports are coming in of them being set into dirt across the neighborhood and the country. A friend asked for planting instructions and so here they are. If you need to grow some orange in your life, send me an email with your address and I’ll send you some seeds. I have a few packs left.
Calendula is a forgiving plant that will grow in a variety of conditions. Plant seeds a ¼ inch deep in soil and spaced about two inches apart. Seeds will germinate in about ten days and flowers will bloom from the end of June until frost. Plants will grow up to two feet.
What are you planting in your heart or garden?