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.
It’s all in the details. Or maybe not. I was relishing the rich prose of one of my most favoured bloggers, Zen Dot Studio, just after returning from my guerrilla gardening incident on Sunday. It amazes me how a good writer can capture the details in the devilment that is life. You know what I mean: the ability to freeze-frame an experiential moment, to re-frame the quotidian so it shows off the extraordinary in the ordinary, to… oh! Just go read Rowdy Abundance! My words will simply ruin it for you.
Now, I will admit to having been somewhat peeved at this raucous talent that ZDS exudes in every post. Well, not every because I do admit there was one… or was that a half of one… or a third of something about three years back when I was feeling very intimidated by all these bloggers out here? Suffice to say this meeting of like-minded people has an edge which is to show me the height and depth of what talent looks like when cultivated. I don’t always welcome the challenge. Thankfully, ZDS isn’t the only mirror I face every morning as I do a quick run through of my favoured literary pixies (that’s those of us living in our pixelated lives) and I am learning that there may be a possibility we can each attain this quality of careful attention to our lives.
At the same time, facing this call to dive into the details of life can be daunting. It can inflame the smoldering coals of self-pity, whining, whinging, and all other forms of self- assassination. Or it can ignite the embers of creativity, commitment, and change.
What does this have to do with Zen? Nothing. And everything. Life only happens in the details. When we see what is right there in the center of our vision field, life happens extraordinarily. When we don’t, life happens anyway – and we call it ordinary.