Zen and the Art of Garden Maintenance

Zen – The practice of meditating to
achieve enlightenment. (Or something like that)

When I weed, I find my Zen. Normally the issues that are on my mind RIGHT NOW fall away and I just am. This is a rare moment in my life as a wife, mother, breadwinner and household with a working phone (damn telemarketers). People normally demand that I pay attention to them which leaves very precious time for paying attention to nothing.

Weed. Grab. Pull. Weed. Grab. Pull. Weed. Grab. Pull.

Very shortly you find yourself breathing to the rhythm of weeding and you just exist.

Then sometimes, if I am very lucky, a sort of epiphany happens. Suddenly I relate some thorny problem in my life to a solution that was always waiting for me in my garden.

When I am wrung out because of the report cards stating that my child is just not “performing well enough” and is “uncontrollable” (which is what it said the last three report cards), it is the drift of ditch lilies that reminds me that sometimes there are forces (and people) we were never meant to control and not everybody likes. That sometimes letting go allows a force, plant or child, to grow to become breathtaking. It also reminds me that a little firm guidance can’t hurt but that maybe the principal is no different than the nosy neighborhood nazi who thinks that all plants should be well landscaped and considers my yard a mess. I don’t care what she thinks, so why do I care what the principal thinks? (maybe I do a little, but I realize that maybe I should care a little less about both of them)

Pulling quack grass again reminds me that sometimes problems just don’t go away. Bills still come, husband and kids still need to be nagged to clean the house, dinners still have to be made. Simply throwing up your hands and giving up does not fix the problem. Keep pulling the quack grass and someday it will be fixed. At least I hope it will, but if not, at least it’s not getting worse.

My garden is my paradise, all overgrown and spilling onto yard and path, and may not look exceptional to the passing people, but in the end, it is my garden, so fuck what they think. I like my garden. It’s my garden, children, husband, life. I am okay with it. I am at peace with everything – even if the rest of the world is not.

If I am very lucky, this is what happens. If not… well, I still end up with a weed free flower bed. At least until, much like life, the same problems come creeping back and I have to remind myself all over again.

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  1. Pingback: Dirt: The Gardener’s Drug of Choice

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