I hesitated to blog this one just yet because I just love the image and the symbolism of the finished product... I couldn't help feeling that it needed some magical words to accompany it, a story, a poem, fable, or at the very least, some pearl of wisdom from a true zen-master about finding peace within one's self and the world around. Alas, that is something I know both a lot and very little...
Peace is not a thing to be found, but rather a state of mind, heart, and soul which requires a lot practice and constant vigilance, much like a garden, in order to grow and cultivate and become something beautiful. Then seasons change and we must do it all again.
Easier said than done.
My Grandmother was the ultimate zen-master of all things green... A woman with only an eighth grade education, she was and is still, among the wisest women I've ever known, especially when it came to growing stuff to feed the body and feed the soul. She could grow anything from anything and her gardens would flourish in a symphony of life.
It amazes me still how she managed to juggle acres of vegetable and flower gardens in various locations around the 54 acre farm... rows and rows of corn, tomatoes, peas, squash, cucumbers, and melons, to name a few, and countless flowers that I don't even know the names of... anything that was rooted in the earth, Grandma could tell you all about it and even through the toughest summers, she could grow it and produce enough to can, freeze, and share. And somehow she always found time to do all that, keep the house, watch the occasional Shirley Temple movie, cook three meals a day, and never did anything go to waste. There was always a bouquet of flowers on her table and plenty of food to eat. --How she divided her time between all that demanded her constant attention (including me) on the farm is beyond my comprehension... I can barely find the time in the day to clothe myself, get the kids off to school, and accomplish a few menial tasks before picking up some fast food crap for dinner... but Grandma was Magic like that.
There isn't a doubt within me that her mastery of gardening fed her soul's splendor as much, perhaps more, than her plentiful yields fed the family and community.
It goes without saying that I inherited my love of fresh flowers and vegetables from Grandma, though the 'green thumb' completely escaped my genetics. Heck, I've been known to kill ivy plants and I'm told that is quite a feat. But that doesn't stop me from trying... Last summer I managed to grow from seeds, tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers in pots. --A small success but a success none-the-less, and such a success never tasted sweeter in a salad. Grandma would be proud. =)
Perhaps it takes a lifetime of practice, mindfulness, and dedication to overcome our lack of green thumbs and rediscover the art of life... to grow and become a thing of selfless beauty and substance...
Not unlike a zen-master and her garden.
"It isn't enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn't enough to believe in it. One must work at it."