Have you ever looked around you at the resources that you have on hand only to realise that you don’t always make the most of them? This is the beginning of a newly minted year and I have done just that. I am doing it right now by looking out the window of my home office at a garden covered in winter snow. There it is: a place that I call home (or a part of my home) and I probably spend more time running from it than I do relishing its’ existence.
I need to change that.
This year I have a new set of resolutions that are designed to squeeze more out of my gardening experience. Here is what I plan to do:
- Think. This year I will take the time to commit my garden to its’ highest purpose. I will bask in the oxygen of it and contemplate life, reflect on what is important and divert my thoughts from the day to day. I think they call this meditation. I am no good at meditation. I just get started by ruminating in my thoughts when I want to ask, “Are we done yet? Cause I have things to do.”
I made a lovely garden bench last winter and created a special place for it in my garden. I carved out a perfect view, where shrubs change colour in succession all season long, birds gorge themselves in a well placed bird feeder and my Canadian flag waves hello up in the corner of the frame. Then I never sat on it.
This year I will sit on that bench and think. I will let you know what I come up with.
2. Peace. We talk a lot about peace. We celebrate it on Canada Day and Remembrance Day. We say that we are a peaceful nation. People clamour to our shores to escape war, conflict, prejudice – all of the things that are opposite of peace. We wish no harm to those who leave us alone and don’t shoot first. I think that this is a good policy for a democratic nation.
But peace can be like the least used room in the house. At the time we moved here the extra bedroom seemed like a great idea. But we never use it. Peace is what we escape from each time we turn on the TV, get in the car to race to the mall or when we generally clutter up our minds with day to day superfluous noise.
If peace has such high value, why don’t I seek it out more often?
The answer is: cause it is right under my nose. I can have it most any time by walking out the door and absorbing the atmosphere in my garden. It is the extra room that I seldom use.
This year, I will do more peace.
3. Love. I love a lot of things and I bet you do too. I love ice cream on hot nights, morning coffee (especially the good stuff), my favourite beer at the other end of the day and I love bbq pork. This statement is sad evidence of how we have over-used the word love. Truth is, I don’t really love any of those things.
I love my wife, family, my friends, my job and my garden. You might say that I cross the line with reference to my garden, but I beg you to reflect with me on what a garden is. The original meaning of the word ‘paradise’ comes from the Persian word for ‘garden’.
If paradise is where we hope to end up when this life is over, then the next best place must be the garden. The one just outside this window.
I rest my case. And plan on loving my garden more.
4. Nature. Nature is everywhere. It is in the air that we breathe and every sinew of our bodies. We are a part of nature and a product of it. Think about that next time you are tempted to yell at the kids for bringing mud into the house. More nature onto our turf: how dare they! We sterilize the space within our four walls best that we can, but we can’t hide from nature.
So I am going to embrace nature in 2016 like I have never done it before. Nature is most accessible in my garden. There is the door. Good bye sanitation!
5. Quiet. My late father was famous for saying, “I can’t hear myself think. Would you kids be quiet!” There were 5 of us and I was squeezed into the middle of the herd so I HAD to make noise in order to be noticed. He didn’t buy that argument.
As time passes I am more appreciative of quiet.
In my garden I can hear the quiet. Wind in the trees, bumble bees buzzing, bird song and there was that moment that stood still when I was hoeing down some weeds and a hummingbird hovered over me for a moment as if to take a snap-shot of me working.
When it is quiet I can hear myself think.