I love to look at my life as a garden, as if I were a gardener who has been given - as each of us has been given - a blessed piece of earth to tend; the task of being responsible for planting, harvesting, and composting what I sow, through each season of my life.
The seeds I plant and nurture will be the fruits I bear in this world. The seeds, whether they be healthy or not; indigenous to my region or not; heirloom or not; will transform into the plants I ultimately must harvest in my life.
My gardens are blessed by sun and earth, and often they are blessed by unexpected rains just when I feel too tired to pull the garden hose out; but I am responsible for watering them when the rains don't come.
I am responsible for weeding my garden; for thinning out the places where too much growth in one area is choking out the opportunity for other parts of my garden of life to express itself. I am responsible for singing songs of hope to the parts of my garden that struggle. The rebellious teenager in me grew up to be a self-assertive entrepreneur; the know-it-all, a passionate, inspiring teacher.
I am responsible for separating the wheat from the chaff. What wisdom shall I harvest? What fruit will nourish me the most? Which plants are poisoning me? What shall I keep and what shall I refuse? The sickle that threshes the grain lies before me like the golden gift of an August sunset. This act of discernment lies upon my shoulders.
After the harvest, I am responsible for using the abundance of gifts my garden of life produces for me. I can store my goods in the root cellar of my self, for future use. I can share my bounty with those around me, in a great, harvest-feast of joy. I can offer prayers of gratitude for the blessings I've received.
If I choose to let the basket of abundant fruit sit too long on the kitchen counter, it will turn back to seed and I will have to start over, another day, if I want to receive those gifts again. I like that I can save the seeds for wiser days.
I am responsible for disposing of the parts of my garden whose time has come. I can push my garden refuse into overstuffed garbage bags where the rich wisdom of its biology will waste away to noxious fumes, or I can convert the seemingly useless parts of my garden into something fertile, through composting them.
I can offer this season’s chaff to my Mother, the Earth.
There, she will bathe them in autumn rainstorms and illuminate their hidden gifts with the bright light of the sun. There, they can dance among fallen leaves, and greens, and wind, and lie, blanketed, under winter’s quiet, reflective snow.
By spring, when time and alchemy have had their way, she will have transformed it all into a fertile blessing that will make my garden of life that much richer and more beautiful.
Rumi said, "This world is a mountain, in which your works are echoed back to you."
Today, I heard love and joy echo off the mountain; called back to me from those to whom I have offered the flowers of my heart. Today, I heard fear and worry echo back at me from seeds of doubt I planted long ago, through bad choices I made. Soon after, though, I heard the cry of a small, white crocus echo back to me from March 1985. From the top of the mountain, she echoed, “Thank you for not giving up on me during that spring blizzard.”
Today, I heard the words of my Mother echo back from the mountain, and knew, in that call, the sound of my Grandmother's voice, too.
Light and dark, and joy and sorrow dance around me. There is a stone path of beautiful twisting and turning that I walk, through my garden of life. I see that some plants grow best in the sunlight and some in the shade. They are all part of the glorious, fertile tapestry of my field.