After a wonderful weekend spent working in the backyard garden, I created my first Vlog this evening. Take a walk with me through my garden, in the cool of the day!
So, after I created my first Vlog, I realized I made a mistake, thanks to a kind YouTube viewer. I didn’t film in Landscape mode, which definitely would have been better! I normally do record in that wider mode, so I am not sure what happened this evening, other than I was racing against the setting sun. Next time, I will switch to the wide angle Landscape mode.
I hope you enjoyed walking with me in my beautiful and serene garden. The plants and flowers are growing and filling in. I will do a nighttime garden stroll soon…and one later in the season so you can see how much the garden has grown and changed.
Thanks for watching!
If you missed yesterday’s post, that I referenced in the video, click the link HERE.
Today I was intentional about spending time in my garden this evening. As I moved through the day, working this morning and visiting with my mom at the hospital, I considered how to best savor those moments. I was excited about planting and hanging the vintage cone colanders and creating a permanent space for the minnow bucket candle holder.
I set that intention this morning and surrendered to it. During the day, as I was in the flow of possibilities, two other elements clicked into place, creating an amazing opportunity. I learned about gathas. And I looked at the online holiday site, curious about what unique celebration might be available today.
Gathas (pronounced gattas) are short poems or verses that are recited during routine activities throughout the day. They are designed to return us to the present moment, helping us to be mindful and aware. In his book Peace is Every Breath, Thich Nhat Hanh writes, “When we settle into the present moment, we can see beauties and wonders right before our eyes. Reciting gathas is one way to help us dwell in the present moment.” In his book, Hanh includes gathas for many ordinary tasks, including gardening.
When I looked up the unique holidays for today, I discovered that May 3 is Garden Meditation Day. It all came together…my desire to be in the garden this evening, the use of gathas to practice mindfulness in the present moment, and a celebration focused on meditating in the garden. Isn’t life beautiful?
Meditation doesn’t have to be practiced sitting in a lotus position with eyes closed. Meditation is the awareness of what’s going on, right now, in my body, in my breathing, in my feelings, in my world. Garden meditation is the act of focusing on what I am doing, moment by moment…digging, planting, creating, watering and even pulling weeds. As I garden, I don’t dwell on the garden of the past or project toward a garden of the future. I remain right here, in the garden of right now, enjoying each task.
As I mindfully dwelled in my garden, I created little flower containers from the two vintage cone colanders. Greg secured the colanders to the wood fence, using heavy duty staples. I cut a 14″ round coco fiber liner in two and formed each half into a cone shape, which I then slipped inside each colander. I filled the containers with potting soil and tucked in white impatiens and trailing dichondra. I LOVE the finished look. These are so adorable and they were so easy to create.
I filled two battered metal buckets with flowers, setting the containers on and near an old wooden chair. The colander planters are secured on either side of the chair. Above the chair, the minnow bucket hangs from a sturdy hook, completing that garden vignette.
As I meditatively planted and watered, I mindfully recited gathas:
I entrust myself to Earth/Earth entrusts herself to me/I entrust myself to the Divine/The Divine entrusts itself to me.
Water and sun/green these plants/When the rain of compassion falls/even the desert becomes a vast fertile plain.
Lighting the candle within the minnow bucket
Lighting this candle/offering the light to the Divine/the peace and joy I feel/brightens the face of the Earth
I am refreshed by my meditative time in the garden this evening. The gathas were simple and beautiful reminders that kept my awareness on what I was doing. And my creativity was fully engaged, free to play. It was the perfect end to the day. I look forward to writing my own gathas. However this one of Thich Nhat Hanh’s resonates:
Ending the Day
The day is ending/my life is one day shorter/Let me look carefully at what I have done/Let me practice diligently/putting my whole heart into the path of meditation/Let me live deeply each moment in freedom/so time does not slip away meaninglessly.
I was excited today to have no appointments or commitments, freeing me to spend the day puttering in my backyard garden. Spring arrived early this year, and although I’ve spent an hour here and there pulling weeds, the flourishing garden needed a good deal more attention. I was happy to oblige.
This is the third season for my personal paradise. It thrills me each spring to see the garden awaken, plants pushing through the mulch. It’s never quite the same garden, year after year. Plants spread, spaces fill in, surprise flowers pop up in unexpected places. That’s the joy of gardening, watching the way that nature shifts and evolves.
Today I tidied up the southern border, removing weeds and inspecting new growth. Greg was a tremendous help, reattaching the vintage screen door that fell victim to high winds, chopping wood for the fire pit, mowing and weed eating, and joining me in removing the last of the weeds.
The weeding finished, I turned my attention to one of my favorite activities…planting. I have a large assortment of metal containers dotting the brickio and backyard, including wash tubs, buckets, watering cans, boxes, minnow buckets and an old red toolbox. I vary the flowers and color themes each year, which is part of the fun!
Because I harvested seed last fall, some of my containers received seeds today, rather than established plants. I’m looking forward to seeing if the calendula, firework flowers and coneflowers germinate and thrive. I also started lavender seeds in a large metal box. Other containers had young flowering plants tucked within them.
The oval tub that belonged to my sweet Aunt Annie received special attention. My aunt, who left this earth last year, had a July 4th birthday. As I did last year, I planted red, white and blue flowers in the tub, to honor her life.
It was a good day in the garden. I have more to do…more containers to plant, a whole section near the Peace Gate to redo, bare spots to fill in. And the north side of the yard will receive creative attention this summer. It’s a process, a journey, a surrender, to the desire to create living art. I anticipate many happy days ahead, spent puttering in my garden.
Alfred Austin wrote, “The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.” My soul was fed today.
Today was day three spent with Greg’s dad, Bob, in the hospital. Greg arrived at the hospital early this morning. After taking care of business in Joplin, I too arrived to find Bob having a very rough day.
His enzyme levels show that his heart is stabilizing and that damage isn’t continuing. The next few days will show the extent of that damage. But he said he felt horrible and strange, the worst he had ever felt, and this is a man who survived two plane crashes! He was fretful and sad and he has not been able to sleep.
Greg’s presence soothes him. Yet it is so difficult to sleep in the hospital during the day, with the busyness outside the door and the frequent checking of vitals. I love the quote that talks about not being pulled into other people’s storms, but pulling them into your peace. Greg and I had opportunity to practice this today, patiently answering Bob’s questions, assuring him he is not a burden, which is his greatest concern, holding his hand.
When he felt so strange, heavy and hurting, and was hyperventilating, we turned down the lights, shut out the noise by closing the door, and laid our hands on him. Greg cradled a foot while I held his hand and arm with both my hands, cupping them lightly. I opened my heart and asked God to pour His Peace, His Light, through me, down my arms and through my hands, into Bob’s body. I grew hot, my hands became hot. The trembling body of this sweet man grew still. His breathing slowed to match mine, match Greg’s. And at last, his eyes closed.
It was a beautiful moment. A time of navigating this difficult time with peace and quiet joy. I wish I could say Bob slept like a baby for hours. He did not. Noise in the hallway made him stir. This continues to be unknown territory for Bob, for Greg, for me. We will walk with this dear man, until the day comes that his path strikes off in a different direction. That was not this day.
Greg stayed with his dad at the hospital tonight. He is learning new levels of caring for his father, with patience and acceptance and love. I came back to Joplin. There was just enough daylight left for me to walk in my garden. The air was hot and humid, but peace continued to surround me, and the stillness within me was echoed without.
I bought two new chairs for the meditation area of my garden last week. Tonight I finally unstacked them and removed tags and carried them into the garden. I love how they look there. For a few moments I sat in that sacred space and allowed all the events of the day to rise and pass through my heart. This journey with Bob isn’t easy, especially for him and for Greg. Yet it is the journey we are on right now and journey well we will. Peace and love will guide us.