Tag Archive | plants

El Camino

foxgloveRecently I went to the movies to watch “Walking the Camino”. It was the penultimate screening and we had the theatre almost entirely to ourselves. This is how I like it, the dark, the quietening of the breath and the unfolding of the story. As I listened to the stories of the half dozen people (out of many) who were sharing their experience, I was waiting to feel the yearning rise up within me to follow in their footsteps. The idea of travelling light; letting go and confronting change on a daily basis all hold much allure. The transformative experiences abounded and were shared with depth and humility.

Searches for the meaning of life, a new better way to be sat alongside the yearning to connect. One young woman bought her small son and her brother. Her dream; that her brother would grow to understand her Christian values and they would become closer. Loss was also present in the stories of those who had died and were still being grieved. All of the stories continued to unfold along with the road and the vista beckoning the pilgrim onward.

The stories were heart warming. Yet, throughout the whole movie the most powerful player was Nature herself.  In sun and rain the natural world stood out; the bedewed blades of grass; leaves lime green in their newness. Heather, in thick rich banks adorned the roadside,    urging me to reach out and run my hands through it.

I know I would never survive the walk; the shared sleeping dormitories alone would be the end of me. I am a light sleeper and often only manage 4-5 hours a night – in the quietest of spaces. I am not physically able to walk the 790kms, my body would teach me a lesson in humility never to be forgotten. Such beauty along the Way, I would love to experience that; I’d take the chance to immerse myself in it wherever it appeared.

It was almost at the end of the movie; the young women had fallen out with her brother. He had misbehaved – his Pan-ness had offended her values. He wasn’t taking it at all seriously and so she drove him away, thereby negating her original desire for connection.  Poor thing, she was trying so hard to be a good/godly pilgrim. He didn’t seem concerned at all. It seemed to me that he was inherently panentheistic and she was – a fundamentalist!

His lightness of spirit captured me and spoke to the mood that had overtaken me as I drank in the scenery. Right then the camera followed the curving stem of a foxglove, honouring each individual flower. From somewhere deep inside me powerful emotion welled up; the thought “I bow before you” sprang into my mind and my heart opened. For me, all the joy of the Camino was represented in that one sinuous curve.

I know that I walk my own inner Camino every day. The Nature mystic in me takes me on many varied and challenging paths. I hope I walk them in humility; staying connected to all the glory of the natural world, grounding myself in Her.

There is always a gift along the road. A dappled glade, a glorious sunset, a field of wheat moving in a gentle breeze. All these expressions of the Divine enliven me and fill me up so that, just like a pilgrim who reaches Finisterre I am filled with joy and deep peace.

Oh Heavens!

Like an arctic lake turned upside down

the bowl of the Heavens

curves above me, clear blue.

No thing mars its cerulean majesty

and set within it like a  scintillating gem

the yellow sphere of the sun.

The gardener in me smiles

in tee shirt sleeves she works steadily and with deep gratitude

for this clearest, cleanest most crystalline of days.

Peace inhabits body, mind and garden

joy resounds in every bird call and gently dancing flower

Eden exists, right here, right now.

Special Delivery

dewdrop
I catch you out the corner of my eye
a gently fluttering leaf,
bejeweled.
Sunlight captured in perfect oval,
rainbow-sparkling you blink
a Morse code message angel-delivered
“I love you”
“I love you”

Gloriously Ruffled Radicchio

radicchioI’ve been hearing people saying lately that Spring has arrived, as if it is a date on the calendar. Well, actually in New Zealand we do describe September 1 as the first day of Spring. Herein lies the truth, it’s the beginning of the process of unfolding and releasing the new emergent energy; it happens slowly, one day at a time. In order to notice the changes I am daily in communion with the parts of my garden that express ‘Springness’. I check the plum blossom and the foliage buds on my oak trees. In my vege garden I check the temperature of the soil. It’s still too wet and cold to plant Spring veges. I know this because my brassicas look so fine; they’re loudly expressing that Winter hasn’t fully released its grip. Which is ok too; greens are good for us & we need to eat plenty – or so I tell myself when I experience resistance to the idea. Fortunately as I stand surveying their healthy vitality I’m nourished by the beauty & elegance of the red cabbages and radicchio. Food for the soul is every bit as important. This radiant show helps remind me that the slow letting go of Winter into the quickening of Spring is inevitable and soon a different kind of expression will take the place of my gloriously ruffled radicchio. Even as I write the first plum blossoms are welcoming bees as they feverishly collect pollen to keep the hives healthy in preparation for a new seasons honey making. So much promise yet to be fulfilled.

Summers End

A joyful flush of new flowers to inspire and uplift.

A joyful flush of new flowers to inspire and uplift.

My exhaustion is reflected in the exhaustion and desiccation of my garden. No rain means no reviving. Our spirits are dried out and desperate for renewal. I’ve been watching the horizon intently for signs of Autumn’s approach.  I’ve even Autumn-cleaned my house.  All in readiness for the long-awaited arrival whose accompanying entourage will embellish the garden with shades of red, gold and orange. Plump raindrops will freshen grass,  late seasons fruit will swell and sweeten.  Harvest will be upon us and we will revel in its abundance; only let it be soon….

Well, it’s not much, dear friends, but we have had rain! Long enough and slow enough to sink in and do some good. Everywhere the garden is reviving; new shoots show themselves, the last flushes of flowers bloom.  The weather is still warm, a gentle heat the harbinger of Autumn – a warmth that encourages me out into the garden again.  Unlike the Northern Hemisphere where gardens are left to ‘over-winter’ because the ground is too cold and hard, here my garden must ‘over-summer’.  Dry earth is hard too and cultivation leads to desiccation. As well, the gardener is fanning herself in the shade of the grape-covered pergola so no chance of work from her!  This is my time out, my siesta of contemplation and creativity – plans for reinvigouration unfold. Then, as the harshness of the sun declines out I go, like the Monarch breaking free from the chrysalis, into a new relationship with my garden. As I wandered around today reacquainting myself with old friends I noticed two bees drinking from the bird bath. In greeting them they expressed deep gratitude for the rain; a hardworking bee needs constant availability of shallow water and this had been hard to sustain.  There is a feeling of newness and possibility alive in the garden; a freshness which speaks of unlimited possibilities. This is my favourite time of the year and I can feel a childlike excitement building as though after too long a confinement. No more stultifying humidity, no more total immersion in sunscreen, so much more freedom. In unison, my soul and the garden sigh with relief!