When I was growing up in California, my mother womaned a Community Garden. It was in my paternal grandmother’s field, behind our home. We had such amazing summers growing, admiring and eating our fruits and veggies. I could just sit for hours, day after day with my feet in the warm black soil. My mother had always reminded me that the entire area that our town was built on was once a dairy pasture. We owed it to those cows for our rich black soil.
THE ROCK SORTER
In my earlier years in the garden, I had the title of Rock Sorter. I never drew the connection, but perhaps it is to this, that I owe my deep fondness and connection to rocks. They have always been so grounding to me and I feel a reverence to them. My job was to dig in the dirt and sift through with my fingers to collect large rocks that may impede the growth of our prospective vegetables. I would then relocated them along the back fence of the garden; stacking them in neat piles. These large sun-baked rocks were warm in the hands and soothing to my spirit. I would place them on my skin and close my eyes and listen to the ambient outdoor sounds; squirrels dropping walnuts, children talking loudly at the school play ground, the occasional airplane overhead, our dog barking. Bliss.
Despite my sun breaks, I was a speedy sorter. When the large rocks were collected, I proceeded to gather the medium ones, which kept me occupied a better part of the summer. I had many tasks, among them, tiling, putting the seeds in holes my mom made and covering them up with soil, watering and weeding. My favorite was picking and eating! When I tired of my tasks for the day, I would sit in the warm black dirt and watch the bees visiting vegetables, smile at the flowers and sit in wonder as ants climbed over me to get where they were headed… I would just observing these things and how I felt being with them. Great days…
One Spring, my mom purchased a package of Cucumber “Silly Seeds” for fun. Silly Seeds were a fun brand of seeds marketed toward kids. They sold different packages of randomly mixed varieties of a given vegetable. My mom broadcasted our cucumber Silly Seeds indiscriminately into our cucumber patch and forgot about them. A hot, dry day, months later, after the plants had matured (and before Google), my mother ran into our home holding up this bizarre yellowish-green, obscenely long and gnarled thing that had grown in the garden. She was completely tickled and somewhat concerned. She had a vague memory of perhaps planting cucumber Silly Seeds, and believed that this vegetable was indeed a cucumber.
She pushed the heavy almond-tone rotary dial phone over to me and instructed me to dial 9-1- and wait. She told me to be prepared to dial the final 1 to fetch the ambulance if she took ill. She was going to taste a piece! Ha, this was intense gardening intrigue. Well, she survived and we enjoyed the occasional anomaly of crazy looking cucumbers in our garden that summer. It was awesome.
WHAT IS TRUE?
In my 20’s, I suppose I felt that I had spent so many years observing and had observed enough. I felt endued with the “truth” in life, the right and wrong way of doing things. I would judge myself in a way that I did not do with others and place edicts on my life based on my understanding of “truth”.
In short, I was very pretty hard on myself to be virtuous. Somewhere along the way I began seeing how little “truth” there really was in life. Life like our cucumber patch, is broadcasted with real inconsistencies. Just when you think you have the entire picture, something else pops up and rocks you world! I returned to observing as a gentler approach to my Self. I have found from experience that I rarely profit from strong arming myself. I am a stubborn sort and must be reasoned with, but it is not just the reasoning that works, because I can “know” that something is a good idea, but often times I have to take a personal inventory and simply observe how a particular practice does or does not server my homestatsis. Soak in the warmth, enjoy life and remember that it is broadcasted with plenty of inconsistencies.