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In the depth of Fall, a flower begins to bud and bloom. What could it be?

It is my sense that it is just as possible to know inner truth through reflecting upon nature than going to church or attending an ashram or spiritual meeting place. But to do it requires wonder.  And joy.  If you can approach it with this sense of newness as though the day has just dawned for you the first time even though you KNOW it has dawned countless times before, you have the opportunity to glimpse this incredible thing.  Through it, you can glimpse the masterwork of the Maker. In seeing this masterwork, you can get an idea as to the level of dedication and truly incredible detail that has gone into just such a production.  I awoke extra early today, at four in the morning for some mysterious reason, but it served to give me a nice jump on the day which also meant I was out and doing some garden work extra early, planting some seeds for a fall garden and preparing a bed that is perfect now for some new things to over-winter…..

I am finishing up some notes on this book I have been working on for the last four years now and I was reading through this one section early in my awakening experience where I wrote this piece that came out so fast….and it got me thinking about all of these issues, these ideas, thoughts, feelings all tied to ourselves, to our landscape, how we are connected to it and how we can live in harmony with it.  And when I say that, I mean an evolving real sense of harmony based on things that are real and tangible.  Its a great thought to WANT to be in harmony, but you aren’t in harmony unless you ARE.  You know?  Hunger in Mogidishu continues even though I wish there wasn’t hunger there.  For it to end something substantive has to be done about it that doesn’t make it worse and makes it possible for it not to happen again.  So what I am getting around to saying is, I think it would be great if we could develop technology more along the lines of green things…..chemistry that is entirely in harmony with its environment that doesn’t make things worse.  Is that possible?  Do things plants put off wind up degrading and turning into harmful substances in larger numbers when they wind up being carried down, say, a watershed into bays and lakes?

The new mystery flower buds up close

IMG_5216Nature has a lot to teach us about cooperation, about technology and how we can have a clean and verdant future by developing ways of living with nature that harmonize with it instead of possibly poisoning it. Imagine a world where solar panels are tree leaves and store energy like trees do….wait….that means that solar panels ARE leaves. Exactly.  Perhaps we need to consider how we can extract energy cheaply from the energy stored by living things without the creation of deadly chemicals in the process.  Or, perhaps we can create technology that merges with nature in some way where there are fewer conflicts, such as what GMO’s are known to do.  If you aren’t up on it, the issue with GMO’s is how the modified genetic material made by humans can wind up in other native species of plants through cross pollination or by other means.  We say for example that we have ways to keep these things out of the population, but there have been instances of genetically modified fish making their way into native populations and wiping out the native populations out because these newcomers take on weight faster and compete more aggresively for food, for example.  So I know I might be going far afield, here, but the thinking here is that nature itself has done an incredible job in getting things figured out.  We should be spending more time studying how nature did it and emulating it based on its millions of years scale rather than a CEO’s ten year tenure, or an engineers career in the GMO industry, for example.  Nature has had time to figure all these things out.  Its an off-the-shelf miracle we could learn a lot from if we knew how to.

I know by looking to nature that our lives could be very different were we to want them to be.  Instead of the old way where we create all kinds of compounds hostile to nature, we could put our inventiveness to ways to NOT harm nature while still growing the food we need to feed the humans on the planet.

What I am saying is that its really worth it to get out into nature.  Even during this time of year, in the Northern Hemisphere, when everything seems to be falling away and going to sleep, there is a great deal of life happening.

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Today, as I walked through my flower garden at the house I noticed that a flower I had planted but had not yet ever flowered, was now starting to flower in the presence of cooler weather!  In fact, this was a plant I had lost track of and could not figure out what it was exactly. It was BIG….and I wondered, why was it not blooming?  I had some plants that did not come up from their seed this year, but this one plant was a mystery.  It grew big and bushy but never put out a single flower all summer long!  But wait!  Not so fast!  Her come the blooms!  So just as I am getting ready for things to go bye-bye, something new comes along just to give me a delightful curve ball! All of this since my last post about my work in the garden preparing seeds for next years’ growing season.  The flower I am speaking of are the buds that are shown at the top of this page.  The other flowers are all flowers that are blooming as of today.

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I also found that my Thai Basil is looking truly incredible with its purple flowers.   I snipped a sprig and tasted it; sometimes I really love herbs when they are flowering.  It seems their flowers add something interesting to the flavor of the herb.  The Rosemary, for example, is suddenly flowering, and this was a new plant that I put in this spring and it has quite suddenly begun a growth spurt.  I put it nearest the steps so that I could smell its fragrance as I go out to snip a piece of it for cooking.  I like that my herbs are in with my flowers.  It makes me feel that much closer, more intimate with them.

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My Thai Basil in flower ~ Isn’t the flower so beautiful? Like an iris or snapdragon or….

 

Not very long ago a hummingbird discovered my flower patch.  It was a brilliant peacock green colored hummer.  I noted that it was making a habit of coming to the flowers and spent a lot of time going around to each one many times each day.  I noticed that it often came around lunch time, so I made a plan to spend a little time out by the flowers in early afternoon.  I was rewarded the first time I tried this.  A hummingbird came to the flowerbed within minutes of my walking outside.  I had been standing stock still for many minutes and the hummingbird came in perfect timing.  I was able to watch as the bird flew from flower to flower just a couple of feet from me.  Realize that the flowerbed I am talking about is right along the walkway in front of my house, so I was standing almost in the flower bed.  The hummingbird did a curious thing, though, and I think it was checking me out; it flew in front of me and looked at me and then it flew up and then flew to my side farthest from the flowers, which resulted in its flying from one side of me to the other by going over my head.  Its path, though, was within about a foot of my head as I could hear and feel it track in a very even path around me as it checked me out. I have gotten close to hummingbirds, but never like this.  It is events like this that make creating a flowerbed so worthwhile.

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There are ants on my plants!

What I like is how nature creates so much opportunity for life.  Ants come to check out the cigar plants (I forget the Latin names) as there is something that attracts them, and that the ants probably help with.  The Peonies are attended by many ants that take the nectar that come from the flowers and seem to assist with the bloom of these remarkable flowers. There are several bees found everyday at the flowers, and a number of butterflies and moths as well as spiders. All this life springing up, creating a teeming island of life.  it makes me wonder what will happen when I expand the gardens next Spring and include sweet smelling flowers of many different kinds.

raspberry sizedI go to the raspberry bushes and I note with a great deal of amusement that bumblebees LOVE raspberry blooms and even now my raspberries continue to bloom and bear. As they do, the bumbles seem to camp out, going over them over and over like some star-crossed lover might.  I know it may not be fair to place such human traits on a bee of all things, but to watch them you would think they are drunk with their affection for these berry blooms.  I wonder why raspberries of all things?  A rabbit has taken to liking to hide out in the growing bush of the raspberry patch and often shoots out like a cannon ball from a canon after I have plucked a few ripe berries from the bushes.

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This is a simple form of worship, but it is worship just the same.  I do worship this masterwork because I know to even mention what a sheave of grass represents is nothing short of an entire miracle or twenty miracles all working together in some amazing way.  And it is in such places I put my attention and miraculously I find peace, a strengthening of the flow of energy within me, a sense of health and happiness I often miss when bound up in other work. Being an artist, I love to make things, and perhaps I observe nature for hints on design and on the still deeper nature of….NATURE!   I can see how observing nature levels the self and enlivens the soul.  I smell a flower and it sends me to other worlds now.  I see something new crawling over the fence and I follow it back to its source, amazed at where its seed could have emerged.  I have stroked flowers and felt a jolt of energy that was so clear and so perfect that I have come to realize there is something in nature.  Actually IN nature for me to find that heals.  It means slowing down and observing, rolling around in the grass a little.

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Once, a very long time ago, I used to have dreams my first year in art school about Picasso.  Now, I want you to know I really do not like Picasso’s work.  In fact, there isn’t a single piece of his work that I really feel COMFORTABLE around.  Be that as it may, something in me chose to create him or I had some exchange with someone who came as Picasso. He came about three times and each time he had something to impart  about art.  The first one had him with his bottom up in the air and his head in the grass.  He had planted himself just outside my dorm room building in a small patch of grass.  I walked up to him and he saw me under the crook in his arm and turned to gesture for me to come close.  He said for me to get down to his level and look closely. He said “There are worlds in things….but you must first learn to see them….”  so we sat crouched over ourselves in this patch of grass and as I did so, my vision took in a piece of grass maybe six inches square.  As I did this I saw how I noticed ants and small mites of some sort along with a spider and a whole world of things growing down there.  Pablo watched me with those big eyes of his and said “Look closer….” and as I did I noticed that there were these very small mushrooms growing down beneath the level of the grass.  I watched and saw grains of sand and all kinds of things I had never seen before.  It was a world down there in a small inconsequential patch of grass!  As I watched, the mushrooms began to light up!  My head moved up and out of the grass as I had, no doubt, a stunned look on my face.  Picasso looked at me with eyebrows arched as the dream faded.  I think that nature is like this….a world of things that we often miss, but could learn so much from.

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Kale in my summer garden, ready to become my winter garden….

Gardening is incredibly therapeutic. I encourage you to give it a try since it increases your enjoyment of your space.  I am sure someone has a study that reveals the link between something remarkable and what we do when we garden.

Over the last few days I have been sprouting mustard seed in order to grow mustard in a fall garden.  I am told that cool weather improves greens so I am growing both kale and mustard to try this out. The mustard was taken from a large packet of seeds bought four years ago, seed that ought not to be fertile, and yet is showing a remarkable level of fertility for being so old and not fresh.  These were seed I bought the Spring before I moved from my home during a separation from my-then wife. It was a garden I never got to plant, and yet this seed has returned two years’ worth of growth from this packet of heirlooms.  A squash plant that was lovely that I had planted he year before skipped growing the three years that my ex was in residence at my home but then chose to sprout up in the yard whereupon it grew a nice fat Italian heirloom squash that makes great stuffed squash.  It was like some weird gardening miracle or something.  I sowed the sprouted seed today into my compost area, which is  a large planter I have taken over for the task of “growing” new soil of special projects (like a flower bed, or berry bushes, or my fig trees, etc.).

The truth is, its the life force that is in all of these things that fascinate me so much.  I wish I could give everyone the awareness that has settled in and made nests in my heart and soul….for this sense has liberated love in a way hard to explain so that it can be rightly understood.  It is wonder taken beyond what I used to feel until it becomes something like love struck fascination, amazement, wonder and awe…..and all of this because of something like GRASS or a flower petal!  These, oldest of all life on the planet, rooted still, seem to bear such hidden wonder to our too quickened ways….it is time for us to slow down a little and garden….

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