Monday, July 15, 2013

Garden philosophy

Well, it has been a while since my last post... Summer has truly blossomed here, both plants and the heat have come on in a big way. The balloon flowers are bursting with blue stars, echinacea flowers are swaying under the weight of honeybees and I have had to share the abundance of green beans with the neighbors. The intensity of life in the garden is amazing when I take the time to sit and watch. Creatures and plants are in their annual race to produce before winter; some make it and others do not. The circle of life is a tough task master and the garden is a perfect place observe and learn a bit from nature.

As humans, we usually have the luxury of a significant lifespan. Initially, we are cared for and play throughout our childhood; dance with passion through our teens & twenties; slow down to procreate by our third decade; then blurry-eyed, lose another decade raising our offspring. We spend close to forty years working for a master other than ourselves; doing tasks which do not necessarily increase our survival odds. Once we  manage to take time off for our own benefit, having saved enough money to retire, it is then we realize we do not have a significant block of time left to accomplish our dreams or"produce before our last winter." Shocking how the time flies, but consider the brief lifespan of the honeybee or hummingbird, we have so many more seasons than they, yet do we truly use this time as wisely?
House finch eggs (actual size) from media cache on Pinterest

In the garden life unfolds quickly and irreversibly. Last night, a raccoon pulled the finch nest out of the birdhouse in the sugar maple and a solitary, tiny, blue egg lay in the birdbath. There will be one less finch in the world and the loss of the egg was of benefit only to the ants. A small reminder of the senselessness of chance and the paucity of options. I am the only mourner for the egg...

The Dalai Lama discusses the human tendency to foster the illusion of permanence, which allows us to think there is always lots of time remaining. Instead, such as in my garden reality, life is changing from moment to moment demonstrating the overwhelming truth of impermanence. The Dalai Lama reflects on this truism of impermanence with the meditative analogy,"Ordinary happiness is like dew on the tip of a blade of grass, disappearing very quickly." He explains the dewdrop vanishing illustrates impermanence and demonstrates it is "under the control of other forces, causes and conditions."

Perhaps stepping out of the house and into the garden we may appreciate and experience these bold processes of nature and adjust our mindset to the precious impermanence of life. Dance among the flowers of the garden and take the time to direct our personal works to greater productivity.


  1. The rest of nature seems to understand impermanence better than we humans. She is the lawmaker and enforcer on that account.