how to be alive

How can emotions not be part of that singing life of grasses and fish and oil tanks and subways and cats who wake us, furious and smiling, in the middle fo the brief summer night?

~Jane Hirshfield

how I love to be surprised by what I have forgotten to see…

inquiry for today~ may this pure happiness of sky and grass and and flower fill you up today……

from the inside of night

Landscaper and contemplative gardener Peter Good and I start by strolling along slowly, stopping to finger a branch, sniff a flower, or gaze high up into a tree. On my own, I’d probably walk briskly through this garden, seeing the obvious sights, but today I deliberately slow down to match his leisurely pace. Reducing the speed, it seems, is part of Good’s secret to gardening; slowing down allows the mysteries to unfurl.

I watch as he pauses, kneels down, and lifts a broad green leaf on the edge of the garden path to reveal a tiny hidden bloom, cradling the delicate blossom in his gnarled hands. I follow his gaze and peer at what I would have missed- not just the blossom itself, but the beads of moisture on the sheltering leaves, bright and reflective as little balls of mercury, and the shiny trail on another leaf, left by a snail.

“Plants are our travel agents,” he says with smile. “They take us places. And everything has a story and companionship with the whole ecosystem: the soil, the rocks, the trees.” To walk through the garden with Good is to discover the garden’s undercurrents, the smallest and most elusive details.

“When you slow down ike this, the real garden is uncovered, ” Writies Wendy Johnson, who started the gardens at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center. “And so is the real gardener,” she adds. “You unfold together. This takes time and a willingness to sit still past the moment when you get bored, or the moment when you think of at least 30 worthy garden tasks hat you need to accomplish immediately. Instead, give yourself all the time in the world and don’t move.”

“Even in dark times in history,” Good says, “nature is still there, still bountiful, still providing comfort.”

After a long pause, we walk slowly back into sunlight an sit on a bench. “Look up,” says Good. A drooping profusion of exquisite white blossoms is gently swaying overhead. “It’s a Chinese fringe tree, and we are here at the perfect moment.”

~Karin Evans

One thought on “how to be alive

  1. In the series “Kung Fu” the young aspirant Cain is with Master Po receiving lessons when he is told by the blind man “be careful of the grasshopper at your feet” the young man replies “Master I cannot believe you knew there was a grasshopper at my feet” to which the old man replies “and I cannot believe you did not”

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