March 15, 2009

Garden Zen

There were decades when gardening played a hug role in my off work hours. A healthy, soul enriching process I truly loved. Tending the garden can produce Zen moments. Fully alive moments. On the lake where we live there is a public park and in another spot a children's camp. During the growing seasons I would be working away when the scents of earth and plants, sounds of children and wildlife, sights of color and watered reflections, the feel of the sun, in and out of breath, beating heart and moist breeze graced skin would all blend, becoming a meditation. The weightless oneness of every living thing felt. No self. The gardens bounty, be it food or a feast for the eyes, seemed an added bonus.

Yeah, there were aching muscles, dirt-encrusted bodies, predators outsmarting organic methods, wonderful plants that didn't survive, and a ton of other pesky things that make up gardening. So why forge ahead? My grandparents would have said, "we work for what we need and want". My parents would have said, "hard work builds character". My take was, years of gardening builds patience and nothing with that satisfying a result comes easily. 

Today I am not as able as those days I had to be called in from the yard, hours after darkness had descended on me. Digging and planting is difficult when you can't see what you are doing, but not impossible. One year my husband gave me a headlamp for Christmas, deciding it was time to give up the idea that I was ever going to come in when called. That dawning took years so he gets points for patience too. 

These days the yard is bigger than I am and living proof that a forest can return to it's natural state if allowed. Not pretty by any stretch, but I can see it as it once was and remember the peace that came while creating and tending it. Now those meditative moments happen behind the camera or in other ways and places, though they aren't quite on par with that old garden zen. Hope you're finding those moments too! Dig a little.

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