This afternoon I had the opportunity to plant flowers for my mom. This was an activity planned for last Saturday, before I was diverted to the hospital where Mom was being admitted with double pneumonia. As I arranged plants in various containers, I enjoyed visiting with my sweet mother, who was released from the hospital last night. She’s tired and still coughing and oh so happy to be home.
I had a few plants left over, after filling Mom’s flower pots, that I took home with me. Nothing goes to waste around here. I added those begonias to the assorted remnants camped out on the picnic table in my backyard.
After completing my day, which included delightful time with granddaughter Aubrey, I returned home, just as the sun was sinking. This is a magical time in the garden. It’s the cool of the day. I love wandering among the plants and containers. I only intended to water the transplants and the container plants. And then that little group of left over plants caught my attention.
To me, the plants looked forlorn, not chosen for containers and creative projects. The last of the coleus, the leftover verbena in mismatched colors, the odd numbered begonias, a lone petunia. I wasn’t dressed for gardening, but the light was fading. I pushed up my sleeves and pulled my long hair back into a pony tail. And I was humming, rummaging through pots and containers, to see what I could create.
As I worked, my hands digging in the rich dirt, I had a garden epiphany, a life epiphany. The plants simply did not care that they were the last to be planted. They didn’t feel forlorn or rejected or neglected. Those were old feelings of mine stirring. The last coleus, with its variegated leaves, looked strikingly beautiful in a copper container that I had forgotten about.
And the three remaining gazania don’t mind sharing space with portulaca, a combo I’ve never considered. The two very different varieties of flowering plants aren’t competing, feeling horrified at being together in the old red and white enameled wash tub, or fighting to dominate. There’s no lack. They have all the nutrients, water and sunshine available to them that they need, and they are just being…being flowering plants, growing, stretching toward the sun, radiating beauty.
The left over verbena don’t care what color their blooms are or how they are mixed together in the second enamel container. The red flowered verbena will be red, and the purple one, purple. And I am the only one who will be surprised to discover what color the “mystery” plants will be. All will offer exactly what they have to offer, without ego, without apology, without effort.
As I finished up for the evening, leaving a few more plants to tuck into pots tomorrow, I thought about whether I can do the same…offer to the world exactly what I have to offer, without ego, apology or effort. Can I just be, as these plants do? How grateful I was for the realizations from the garden. And then I laughed, accepting that the plants don’t care whether I learn from them or not. They are what they are. They are mirroring my thoughts back to me and it is the Divine who whispers, “Cindy, consider the flowers…”
There is a Zen saying that Alan Watts shares:
“The wild geese do not intend to cast their reflection; The water has no mind to receive their image.”
They do what they do, beautifully. The plants do not intend to raise my awareness and enlarge my heart. They do what they do, beautifully. I am still and thoughtful and full of joy as the sun disappears and darkness falls. I am surrounded by deep magic.