Thinking the Hard Things Out

I can’t seem to get out of the garden.  It’s the only meditative, quiet, fertile place I care to be in at the moment.  I don’t really understand what is happening to me.  This is not like me.  I am changing, perhaps returning to my true Self, wanting very different things in life than before. 

I live in the question of “what is happening to me?” and don’t rush the answer.  The soul doesn’t work that way.  It works slowly but surely, not to be rushed, but heard. 

I remember my mother’s wise words, “Life will tell you.” 

Hence, life is speaking to me through the garden, through the blooms, and blossoms, color and decay.  I water, plant, prune away at the live and dead flowers, realizing I need to water, nurture, and tend once more to my inner life.  A voice inside whispers, stop, take heed.  Stop doing, stop, even if there is much to get done.  Stop and listen to the music playing inside your heart.  Write.

Writers, they listen, observe, play, record what is around them and what is inside them.  They stop to ponder what lies beneath.  They take in the moments, and hear grace in the silence.  They block out the world that drives madly to break in.

I sit at my desk and listen.  I open a book by the late May Sarton, a New England poet and novelist, called May Sarton’s Well.  I open it gladly and read her writings.  She says, “It is worth everything to me to feel the morning opening gently, not to be hurried, not to push myself from one kind of response to another at top speed.” 

I am called back to the garden, the grapes, the need to slow down and transform.  I need to work within the rythyms of nature, not man, or I should say, my own doing.

I get caught up in the appointments, endless errands, and to-dos, the emergent e-mails, the text messages, the noise, what I call the time fillers, wasters, killers.  I made a decision to stop.  I put an end to e-mails going to my phone and I have blocked out the mornings to write, walk and garden.  Instead of the loud distractions, I hear the vibrational waves to go inward, sit in solitude and create.  The garden gives me this.  So too, the blank page.  Only I can create this space, no one else.

I continue reading May Sarton’s words, “My hope that I would have a whole series of empty days, days without interruption, days in which to think and laze, (for creation depends much on laziness as hard work) was, of course impossible.”  I suppose this too is my impossible hope.  A hope to write for a few hours every day without interruption, with vigor, discipline and inspiration as key ingredients to creating a body of work. 

I liked spending time with May Sarton today.  I miss her when she would write about her life in New England, her garden, her long walks in the woods, her times with her cat and dog, her bouts of depression during the harsh winters and aliveness thru the promising spring.  I miss her.   I miss the women in my life who introduced me to Sarton, my sister, and who shared in Sarton’s journals, my mother.  I miss them.

Sarton writes, “What kept me going was, I think, that writing for me is a way of understanding what is happening to me, of thinking hard things out.  I have never written a book that was not born out of a question I needed to answer for myself.  Perhaps it is the need to remake order out of chaos over and over again.  For art is order, but it is made out of the chaos of life.”

I don’t know what is happening to me, perhaps I am thinking the hard things out, but it feels good, right, on center.  I am letting go of what no longer serves me and plant dreaming deep something larger in its place.

The Time to Heal

I spent the weekend planting Dahlias, Celosias, and Heather in my garden boxes and baskets.  I devoted hours tending to the vineyards, craving nature’s quiet touch and wise ways more than ever before. 

After spending four days in the Oakland Children’s hospital, putting a close end to my son’s esophageal disorder, and witnessing (and hearing at night) the howling and suffering of ill children, I needed the sun and soil for solitary nourishment. 

As I walked the rows of vineyards, I could see the grapes were late in turning a plump purple.  The cool summer weather delayed their natural inclination to ripen, to turn to wine.  They needed space.  They needed more sun.  They needed time.  I cleared the crowded leaves, sheltering the grapes from the sun, and admired the robust clusters of green with hints of shaded purple.  I remember Galileo’s quote:  “The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.” 

After watching my son struggle to eat for the past four months, I needed what the grapes needed. Sun. Time. Health.  Healing.  If there is one thing the hospital environment openly teaches and the doctors and nurses tirelessly demonstrate is that health is king.  Wholeness demands an imperative return to the basics:  Proper treatment, balance and order, adequate sleep, good nutrition, substantial rest, moderate exercise, and time to heal.  Time.

With the financial turmoil taking place throughout the world and this persistent political in-fighting disease growing in our very own  country, perhaps this is what America needs–a return to the basics, a call for the simple, healthy living, and time, the time to heal.