Gardening as spiritual practice, intellectual paradigm, & a love story
|Raspberry Bee Balm or Monarda|
I was explaining something to my husband, something charged and important, emotional. The reason for the tears or intensity are not relevant or even memorable, but typically this scenario is unlikely to go well -- me leaky and sore and him trying to help. But, on this day I used my garden as a metaphor to illustrate my point(s) and how I felt. Into a grand garden-based simile went the mishmash of partially processed feelings, deep connecting ideas, and whim and I began to explain. Using the garden and the gardener as metaphor -- spinning from concept to common practicality.
Admittedly I am prone to see (invent) large meaning from simple things. A quality that when viewed generously is creative and exciting but turned on its tail can be exhausting (& tedious). But, gardens are metaphors that do not run out. It is all there, the drama, the truth, the process. The epiphany of the quotidian
The great writ small and the small elevated to the divine.
the earth and the sky - grounded and soaring - heart and intellect
A place where all of me can come and find a voice, an ally, or an example.
Everything I have learned from Buddhism, by being a Quaker, as a parent, from studying physics and the sciences, about love and how life works, is in evidence in my garden. If I want to be reminded of the Central Truth or any of the 1000 smaller neighboring truths, they are all on show and available in my garden. On this particular day using Great-Mother images of necessary-but-difficult pruning, the care of little shoots, the need for rocks as rest and edges as frames I was rewarded, my husband smiled-- little rootlets connect.
|A couple of cattails at sunset|
This poem came to me from The writers almanac is called "the gardener" by Ken Weisner and it speaks to some of these elements
The Gardnerby Ken Weisner
You get down on your knees in the dark earth—alone
for hours in hot sun, yanking weed roots, staking trellises,
burning your shoulders, swatting gnats; you strain your muscled
midwestern neck and back, callous your pianist's hands.
You cut roses back so they won't fruit, rip out and replace
spent annuals. You fill your garden dense with roots and vines.
And when a humble sprout climbs like a worm up out of death,
you are there to bless it, in your green patch, all spring and summer long,
hose like a scepter, a reliquary vessel; you hum
through the dreamy wilderness—no one to judge, absolve,
or be absolved—purified by labor, confessed by its whisperings, connected
to its innocence. So when you heft a woody, brushy tangle, or stumble
inside grimy, spent by earth, I see all the sacraments in place—
and the redeemed world never smelled so sweet.
"The Gardener" by Ken Weisner, from Anything on Earth. © Hummingbird Press, 2010. Reprinted with permission