I got myself outside. I am always amazed at what I experience.
Simply clearing up the beds right outside the kitchen door. dead stalks, leaves, I notice things….some stalks don’t pull up…the roots stay in the ground. goldenrod. perennials, strongly rooted. O.K… they will come back again this year. This part of the garden is creating on its own. I tend a bit. As I continue I find intriguing things. . .
Some iris flags coming up, just 3-4 inches tall ! oh, I stepped on one before I was aware of them. I hope the root regenerates the leaf stalk ! I discover more emerging iris flags and gently work around them. Do they need some protection of the leaves I just pulled away? Did they come up a little early this year, in late February?
Plants by the old trellis…will no doubt have lead in them from the old paint, which has fallen off over time. I tested the soil a few years ago. Lead. It stays put because it is a “heavy” metal. So I don’t eat plants from that area.
I harvested a bundle of Baptista stalks. False Indigo. Last time I was outside doing this clearing I found that the stalks don’t break…they have long strong strands, fibers. Ah! A good “cording” plant…to make string, rope. I love to do that. I usually use dog bane, a plant in the milkweed family which grows to the north of the house…all on its own.
Will the Baptista stalks have lead in them that might get in through my skin when I cord them with my fingers? Ah……..
Chickadee speaks ! I run in to get a handful of seed, hopefully holding out my hand by the bird feeder made of some sticks propped against the house with a tiny hanging basket for the seeds). Eventually ONE chickadeecomes and eats from the seed-filled lid I hold. ! Ah!
I return to the clearing of the garden beds. Cabbage heads are next…. They were bought from Les, the organic farmer down the road, for making sourkraut, but I didnt get around to it soon enough and they started rotting. I put them out of sight in the bed during the winter, not wanting to walk the 100 yards to the compost pile in the snow. Interestingly they are still looking like a cabbage head. I noticed that quality with a few red cabbage leaves that were by my car all winter. They didn’t decompose like other plant leaves. Hmmm. They are a crop that stores well. That fits. They also last a long time as sauerkraut. That fits.
What is that blue in the soil? Oh, a label on the banana peel that was put outside along with the cabbage head. Probably some amount of plastic in the label. It is foreign to this setting of plants and soil, natural colors and biodegrading. It might not break down, and if it does, the plastic molecules will likely float around, and….?
I am pulling the sod, the grass, off the surface of the flat blue stone from Ohio that makes a patio on the south of the kitchen. The grass grows from between the stones, up and over, to cover the stones. There is about 2 inches of dirt here. Wow. where did all the plant matter come from to make 2 inches of soil over this flat rock?! I am thinking it might be from the bird feeder that is about 2 feet away…Piece by piece seed hulls breaking down by the work of soil micro-organisms…bacteria, fungus, such?
THEN I see a brown lump about 6 inches in diameter behind the outdoor chair I sit in to have breakfast on warm-enough days. What IS this lump? Oh my gosh, its that hand-carved bowl I was gifted…and couldn’t imagine how I lost. Hah, Maybe I left it on the stump table next to the chair and the cat overturned it, while licking out any remaining morsels of food?
I brought the wooden bowl in the house, washed it with water , scrubbed it a little, and am thinking when it dries, I’ll oil it a bit to replace those lost to the weather and prevent cracking. It’s a miracle that it didn’t split while being out in the rain and snow and elements for months ! When I was given the bowl, I had thought it was so THICK! I have wondered why the man who made it didn’t thin it out more. Now I am glad for that thickness, or very likely it would have split under these conditions.
Good news, bad news…who’s to say? I was unhappy when it was so thick because it didn’t have much depth or space for FOOD to be held. Now I am happy it was so thick and strong because it likely kept it safe from splitting. Bad? Good? I am classifying it according to “my need” at the time. So, knowing that I do that, I have removed “good” and “bad”, “right and wrong” from my vocabulary. Well, really, I upgrade it, change it out, when I notice I am saying or thinking it. And do it with a little smile. I imagine much misery has been a result of this kind of thinking, a sort of blaming built into our language, our consciousness…not realizing our reactions are mostly about “our need” at the time. The very same thing can seem like a blessing or curse, according. Sometimes we want it to rain .. we NEED rain, and sometimes rain “spoils” the party. Rather, I now I change my thinking, my consciousness to reflect my feelings and longings or needs, rather than saying “It is good or bad”. I might think/say “I feel so happy that the bowl was thick and is safe, and I can still use it and have my daily relationship with it like before ! And earlier, when I experienced the thickness of the bowl, I could have thought…”I feel disappointment. I am wanting the bowl to hold more. I am wanting more efficiency.
So here I am, indoors, on the computer, my neck starting to hurt, the machine noise of the refrigerator the only sound I hear. Now what? Will I be able to get myself outside again?
I’ll have some breakfast and go out once more. Then I’ll come in and do the work of planning and connecting, and using the computer…all with the goal of being outside, with others, doing something joyful, useful. I do so want to help bring us, weave us, back into this dynamic relationship with life, with the world of nature, our larger body that goes on without our help, like the goldenrod and dog bane, and chickadees, knowing how to live their whole lives, birth to death to birth again !
I am stepping into the circle of life. One step at a time.