a purposeful blindness

There’s a purposeful blindness that centers our perception.  I went out into the garden that hugs the south side of the house.  It tends to be a haven for butterflies, moths, and assorted flying bugs and beetles.  Thankfully, the ravenous Japanese beetles have gone after decimating my lily collection over several years.

I go out with my camera into the adolescent growth which sways with a gangly awkwardness as I wade through it.  Usually this is enough to send most winged beings flying for safer havens.  But that’s only been my perception.  Going over several pictures, I was amazed to find little bugs and beetles, ants and bees tucked away in the recesses of petals and leaves.

The first few shots of this bee balm caught the blossom and my little green friend didn’t appear to me until I stepped into the shadows and enlarged the shot.  He (she?) must have been having a kindness practice day because when I turned back, he was still there, ready to pose in several more angles.  He walked daintily across the petals and paused on the crest of the flower.  It reminded me of Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings; to walk on the earth as we would on lotus petals without crushing them.

It amazed me that he stayed for so long.  Mostly, it amazed me that I had not seen him in the viewfinder the first time.  And yet, it might have been a good thing because in the excitement of seeing that luminous green against the mouth-watering red, I might have become obsessed with getting the perfect picture and forgotten to be surprised by his tender relationship with the blossom.

Sometimes when we see everything, we miss what is important to truly see.

showing up for salvation

There is something about persisting.  Last Spring the vegetable garden looked beyond salvation.  But we persisted because we knew somewhere in the thicket of stinging nettles and various noxious growth lay our good intentions for eating loca-mindfully.  Notice that I didn’t call the rampant flora “weeds.”  I’m finding it harder and harder these days to use words that betray my blindness and my preferences.  Keeping the ever-spinning wheel of dependent arising in mind, how can I label something as not belonging when it has simply moved into the space I created by moving out.

Still, there were boxes that leaned more towards the nomadic type of plant life.  So this Spring we decided to let the two Western-most containers house various grasses and the occasional volunteer squash vine while we reclaimed – yet again – the others for tomatoes, lettuce, chard, chili peppers, and (something new!) eggplant.  It was an easy negotiation – much easier than the one I tend to have with myself about the boundaries between mental order and chaos.  And so far the pact is being honored, even after all the heavy rain and blistering heat which would make the mulch sprout.

I suppose there is little that is beyond salvation if we’re willing to dig deep enough, negotiate wisely enough, and allow enough time and space to focus on the essentials.  Most all, there is little that won’t change or rearrange with sufficient persistence.  Showing up each season, each day, each moment is all it takes.