Last week I had been trying to dismiss the sadness I felt around some of my seedlings wilting. I was especially bummed when I saw that none of my anise hyssop survived, since I was really hoping to have a more pollinator-friendly, flower-filled garden this season. “Perspective,” I kept telling myself. What are a few sprouts wilting when there are actual human lives being lost right now?
And yet my inability to take every seed into maturity felt like a grave disappointment. I know that death is a natural part of gardening, which is why overseeding is a strategy. But “Why can’t they all survive?” was really overlaying the deeper question of “Why can’t we humans all survive?” Then I remembered not only last year’s learning around paradox and polarity, but also the time I was grappling with my own existence in the order of things. I asked to discover the truth of the Small. (Here is a powerful path of learning: Ask to see the beauty and significance of the Small, then open heart and mind, all your inner and outer senses, and see what you learn.)
YMMV, and I could write pages on the Small, but part of what I learned is this: The force that creates universes regards a single blade of grass as perfection. A star is just as perfect, yet a star cannot express the essence of grass any more than grass can express the essence of star. It is only our human brain that wishes to compare the two, measure disparity, and create hierarchies based on our ideas of bigger, better, faster, more. From this higher perspective, “How much is that sprout contributing to our economy?” is just as absurd as “How much is that person contributing to the economy?”
As I continued to sit with all these thoughts, I also came to understand that my garden had started to bear more energetic weight than appropriate because it is one of the few things I can plan for this year. Once I released my poor garden from that pressure, I was able to find peace doing what I could to optimize conditions for what is now emerging, while honoring all forms of death around me. This is not something I was expecting to do during springtime.
Happy gardening to all those who are sowing seeds this season. (I’ve read seeds are the next toilet paper. Please don’t hoard.) May your gardens be fruitful and nourish you and yours. May you enjoy the work, the learning, and may it delight your senses along the way.
Ditto to those tending to inner gardens or other gardens of a more energetic sort. For you, too, are weeding, planting, nourishing, and balancing. As we take shelter in these changing times, there has quite literally never been a better time to tend to the landscape of your life. Contact me if you feel a longing to connect with your inner landscape.