My friend Frances wrote to me about her first experience planting a vegetable garden in her backyard:
I noticed that I have to simplify all the abundance in my life – all the opportunities, the seemingly endless possibilities.
My garden gave me a perfect example of this. We have an abundance of vegetables growing in a small parcel of earth we prepared, removing stones and weeds, adding compost, mulch, fertilizer. Then, in this rich, good soil, we planted turnips, carrots, daikon radishes, lettuce, herbs, tomatillos, eggplant. They all started growing riotously – I couldn’t believe how you could plant seeds and then all this stuff would just come up with abandon. I knew I needed to thin those turnips and carrots – but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I thought maybe they would grow anyway – all of them. I couldn’t bear to take any out, I refused to intentionally rip out a single living thing. After all, isn’t that what seeds are for? I had worked so hard to ready the earth, plant and water the seeds – why should I start tearing things out by the roots? Why should I leave big patches of bare ground? I wanted to give everything in the garden – everything I planted – a chance to grow. Read more
In the high desert, the myriad threads of summer spun from the most essential of elements – air and fire, water and earth – begin gathering and interweaving throughout the day, morning, noon, mid-afternoon, a complex ancient familiar yet freshly new dance across time. Small white puff flakes gather behind mountains, clouds purely white grow, rise, slowly, then more quickly, suddenly shades of grays and deep blue blacks winds pick up trees sway leaves flail thunderheads able to release some deluge or a dry, dusty, broken promise of rain teasing darkness. The size and scale of such moments are beyond imagining, even as cacophonies of cloud and thunder shake the earth and saturate the sky.
Have you ever seen the whole sky, really, and all at once? No. It is too vast. Only a few hundred miles here or there. Never the whole thing, perhaps from space, but then it is flattened by distance, or perspective. This sky defies perspective. It is palpable, you touch it, smell it, feel the weight of it upon you, in all its luminous enormity.
Innovations in medical science provide technologies that digest and analyze astonishing amounts of medical information. Treatments and techniques, elegant in detail, are put to use immediately, seemingly increasing our healing capacities at an unstoppable pace.
And yet, the speed of the human heart remains constant. No matter how small the incision, or how benign the chemotherapy, the human soul will forever ache for time – time to find its way, to step carefully through the garden of impossible choices, to seek the reassuring nourishment of good, honest company.