Thursday, May 15, 2008

Gardening and Silence

I have been taking some time away from studies (although it's putting me behind) to take in some of the spring weather and to concentrate on more of my yard than the lawn, which has been a stressful situation because of broken lawnmowers.

Yesterday, I got to spend some valuable and peaceful time engaging with the kids in gardening - weeding, exploring the yard, tying up the hops, and readying the vegetable garden for tilling this weekend. It was so wonderful to see that the kids didn't see this activity as a chore, but gladly put on gardening gloves and jumped into the action. Even the toddler was happily digging about in the sticks, and enjoying just being in the yard while we worked.

Although I am well-known for having a "black thumb" and killing indoor plants under my care, and neglecting outdoor plants, I do love something about working in the dirt. I love kneeling in the soil, carefully pulling weeds and roots, planning garden space, and later on, harvesting. I also really enjoy watching other people experience growing things and planting and harvesting.

It was so peaceful, and Soren and I had a wonderful time exploring the layout of our property as we searched for the perfect spot for our new Japanese maple and pine tree. As we wandered about, we realized that the yard proper (as opposed to the wildlife preserve aka meadow) had been carefully planned by the farmer and his wife who originally purchased this property. The large garden was planted with care and no trees were planted that could block the direct afternoon sunshine. Raised beds are created in strategic places to allow for bulbs to grow each year (although the woodchuck had his way with the daffodils this spring) and there are newer plantings that the previous owner carefully planted and sodded. There are mature fruit trees planted in a row, hops where they will get enough water from drainage, and maple trees and honeysuckle where they will benefit from some shade and create shade!

Such planning makes me think of some sort of outdoor feng shui. I am awed by it, as I'm not good at envisioning space in that way - I was never cut out to be a decorator - that was my mom and my sister got all those genes. There is a beauty in it beyond the beauty of nature and growth. It offers something to all the senses and appeals to my spiritual side.


This morning I drove to work and purposely drove in silence. No radio, music, news. Just me and my thoughts. I don't often have an opportunity to drive alone or have silence. Often I'm catching up on the news in the car, or listening to a book on tape. It was not true meditation, but a purposeful, thoughtful, intentional attempt to just listen. I listened to my thoughts, to the wind, to early morning birds. I spent the whole 50 minute drive in silence and I enjoyed every truly blessed moment.

It was a wonderful gift.

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