Planting the Garden

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The days are finding their length and warmth. Today there is a haze in the air that feels of deep summer, but the green on the trees is still the brilliant light green of spring, the apple trees in the field are all in blossom, and the black flies have arrived. So far they are mostly just practicing their swarming technique but I expect the intense biting to begin in the next day or so. It turns out we are all eating each other here on earth!

Speaking of eating, I’ve planted peas, lettuce, radishes, arugula, and beets in the two beds I’ve prepared so far. I’m working on a third bed today where I’ll plant more lettuce, leeks, and parsley, and we’ll see what else.  I’ve not spent much time in the garden, but every minute I’m out there is expansive and grounding. My body settles (until I turn over a stone to find yet more European Fire Ants).  I don’t know what to do about the ants!

And the Japanese Knotweed grows about an inch a day. I worry over it, but so far have still not done anything about it.  I look at it and my body contracts.  I’ve attached meaning to this plant. I have a story about it and it is strong enough to trigger a negative physical reaction just by looking at it (same with the ants).  It isn’t even biting me!

I have the sense that it is inching toward me from every direction, like the trees from Birnam Wood, but if I stop and be patient with myself and the Knotweed I see that this isn’t happening—I am experiencing delusion. In fact, nothing is happening. The plants are growing, as plants do.  I am worrying, as I do, and the two are unrelated as much as I insist the weed is somehow personally responsible for my anxiety!

The stories that shape our lives seem to have deep and difficult roots. The story I have been building about the Knotweed is an old story, a story about other, about enemies, about wanting life to be different than it is.  I’m going to keep complaining in the weeks to come about the Knotweed; I’m going to discuss all sorts of non-organic herbicides I might use to kill the stuff, but let me be clear up front: this isn’t about the Knotweed, this is about my story about the Knotweed.  The Knotweed is alive and vibrant and growing and has no agenda about me, it doesn’t care what I do or don’t do. Maybe this week I’ll spend more time being patient and without agenda.

I’d also like to acknowledge the great disaster in the Gulf of Mexico where oil is continuing to spill. Feelings of grief and shame and fear arose for me as I learned of this unfolding situation and the unbelievable devastation to oceanic and coastal life that is happening and will continue. And what can I offer? I cannot change what has happened, but I am willing to be present and patient with it and include all of it (both the outer circumstances and the inner circumstances).  And also to acknowledge my own responsibility in this, as a person who is part of a culture relying on and taking for granted the use of oil for our personal convenience and lifestyles, with inadequate attention and care to the repercussions of this choice. I send my love and care to all the life effected by the spilling oil.

Tomorrow I’ll begin a new series of posts, Planting the Seeds of Listening, in which I’ll explore how the process of inquiry can bring us more deeply in touch with our lives.

What are you planting in your heart or garden?

Related Posts: Our Time is Now, Garden Dreams
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