Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tangled webs

Fall has set in and many a spider has made its way indoors, or built a web along my beaten path.

But those aren't really the webs I'm thinking about. I'm thinking about the webs we humans weave, as per Sir Walter Scott, "when first we practice to deceive."

Deceipt, omission... the untruths we tell ourselves and others when we don't want to face the truth, or want to avoid unpleasantness. The occasional "white lie" - those little things we say to avoid hurt feelings, like saying "I'm fine" when I'm not, or "You look fine," when you don't - there's a place for that.

But deceit cuts to the bone, breaks every possible avenue of trust, and seeps into the very core of the person deceived. And it's not just words uttered from someone's tongue; it's actions and words unmatched, promises unkept, or masks worn to veil what's real.

I want to know what's behind the mask.

The intricate weavings of tangled webs are much like the ripple effect, or the beating of butterfly wings... the impact is greater than the act itself, and often unseen by the cause of the effect. And unlike the beating of butterfly wings, those tangled webs are hurtful and damaging.

I trust that wounds so deep can heal, but not without desire, great effort, much time and quite likely, love, acceptance and forgiveness from something both within and greater than all of us.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A sunny September Sunday

The communal squash patch, and my neighbor, Mrs Bean, still gardening at 96.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Perspective on worms...

"We all are worms, but I do believe I am a glow worm." ~ Winston Churchill

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tilling the soil

Sometimes you just have to stir shit up.

I'm not really in the mood, but stuff got stirred, like it or not. And my only option is to dig in. I guess I could ignore it, go the "no till" route, but I suspect in this case that's not in my best interest. It's been suggested I see this as an opportunity but I'm not there yet...

It's not like I haven't done a lot of work. I'm more familiar than many with the "how to" and "fix it" type books when it comes to my inner landscape. I've been working on "my stuff" throughout my adult life, even starting pretty early. At different points along the way, I've dug deep, churned things up, let things go, had faith, trusted the universe to give me strength or show the way, listened to my inner self, practiced meditation, worked with those who know way more than me about all this stuff, visualized my dreams, shared my story, journaled, asked for help, and spoke out when I needed to.

I've been told I have a lot of emotional intelligence. I've developed a fairly strong "gut" instinct, read between lines, and hear when a voice isn't "authentic." I take responsibility for my own stuff, and I'm not afraid to do the work, especially when something reveals itself as needing the energy. Of this, I'm very capable, although sometimes that outside perspective can make a big difference. I know I'm a work-in-progress, and that my self-worth issues will be with me at some level indefinitely. Yet, sometimes, a break from doing all this is important, too.

So... why am I at this particular place again? I found it easy to defer to "never in doubt." Despite an "often wrong" clause.

Fall is settling in. The sky turns dark much earlier, the bright reds and oranges only symbolize the death that's underway. I know that spring will follow winter, but that feels like so long from now. And I am so not ready. I don't feel prepared, or that I have the energy.

My life, while not perfect, had much to like. There were dreams, ideas and even plans, but the road map and budget went askew, partly due to flawed or out-of-sync planning and partly due to the economics at hand. Or so I thought. There was still much to look forward to. I'm sure there still is but I can't get a visual.

I enter September feeling lost and adrift. Clarity comes in fragments. Tilling can support healthy growth, and I understand that it's a long-term, continual process. Perhaps this time, I can keep it going, dig deep enough so that I don't have to revisit where I am now.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Garden is as garden does

No pretense. It just is. If you care for it and give it what it needs, chances are, it'll grow and hopefully flourish. If it's neglected or misused, it won't. There's always a chance that the weather or some other such thing won't cooperate, though, and could change the outcome no matter what you do.

So many things I wish I'd known, so many things I wish I'd asked, so many things I wish I'd said; and much that I wish I'd been less afraid to explore and experiment with before it became irreconcilable. Had I only realized...

The garden is languishing right now. And I'm clear that it took us both to get here. Sometimes there were complementary skills, sometimes no skills at all... And unfortunately, there were few good examples when they were most needed. Good, honest information can help, but if it's not available, then there's even less to work with.

I have no illusions, but even with that said, I know it could be (could have been) so much more... even now, there are different possible conclusions and pieces can be salvaged, in varying degrees; but no matter how the final outcome looks, work is required to get there and work takes energy and commitment. Not sure where that stands...

Regardless, I am learning things that I believe will be essential - in the garden, in life, and in my heart. I'm recognizing places and senses long forgotten, or tucked away (some could stay away, and I wouldn't mind at all, but then I wouldn't really learn anything, would I?).

Life and landscapes change. A storm can wipe away a year of food crops in milliseconds. All sun and no rain can lead to no growth - just withering vines with no fruit. Balance is nice, but there's no guarantee, especially when there are so many unknowns, so many possibilities, and inherently, no control over any of it.

Perhaps a request for grace...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Greener grass

The neighbors always had nicer, greener grass than we did. We called them the "yard nazi's."

I guess it's all about perspective. I don't think green grass is a particularly smart way to go. It sure looks nice and it feels good between the toes. But it needs just as much care and feeding as any other kind of living thing - just different.

It's also detrimental. If you want that sweet green grass, you probably have to sabotage something else. But then of course it's justifiable, despite the damage, because it offers something else, maybe symbolizes something, and I'm sure everyone who has it has their own reason for wanting it.

Symbols are interesting. They aren't the thing itself. They only represent whatever we choose to make them mean. It can be a house, a person, green grass, a word... Despite the meaning we assign, there's quite likely another, just as valid, interpretation. Symbols can be very powerful and impact us in both positive and negative ways - but it's up to us to make the choice and how much energy to give them.

A wise friend reminded me that symbols with negative energy (and negative energy, generally) can almost always be deflected, no matter where it comes from, whether real or even just imagined. And it'll only keep us from our dreams and desires - whether it's green grass or a grass hut on a remote island - if we give it enough power.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Takes a village

Initially, I hadn't planned to start a garden; it started with just three small rose bushes purchased by Forrest's mom on a visit here in 2000.

The idea expanded; we decided we wanted to rid ourselves of grass and all the work involved to maintain it, as well as do the right thing in terms of our shared commitment to the environment... We started planting some drought-tolerant natives, along with a few things we liked (like the mimosa and some lillies).

Certainly, there was no intention to start a community garden.

From early on, I didn't want to expend much energy on the side lot north of the house - it's precarious, because I'm only a 50% owner. One of several options I've considered, should my uncle decide to sell before I was ready to leave the house (and buying him out on the whole property was quite likely not an option), was to sell the lot and purchase his piece of the house, something Forrest and I talked about on many occasions. We would hopefully even leverage our future travel plans if we did it right.

But then Forrest created this amazing grape arbor just off the driveway near the sidewalk. It's gorgeous, creative and absolutely delightul; the grapes are now just starting to ripen again (I'll get a picture soon). Strawberries served as ground cover and lavender attracted more bees; little by little we added wild flowers, herbs, shrubs and trees. Then came last winter - harsh and unpleasant both in terms of weather and economics, and we decided to grow food. So Forrest built the raised beds.

Soon we had a community garden, without really planning or expecting it. Ideas flew about how best to make it work, we met awesome people, and the garden made it into the first Sustainable Ballard Edible Garden Tour and into Pacific Magazine about sustainable communities. Who would'a thought?

What kept me going all along was the communal energy; that he and I were doing this together, that we invited others in to share, that something greater than the parts was being created. Never a dream or a goal, it felt more like a gift, to share this place and bring good energy in, to recreate the vibrance that was once a part of my grandfather's garden. Maybe even a last hurrah for one of the few pieces of undeveloped land in the neighborhood.

Perhaps in some ways this is a plea to other gardeners, neighbors and friends - to be there at least for now, to help, to support, to create. I would welcome and be grateful for that in ways beyond words.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The right tool

At least in part because of a tool, there's a garden in front of the house. In 2000, or maybe 2001, a friend loaned me this really cool thing that I don't even know the name of - it's not a shovel, it's not just a fork. It has tines, but also a place to put your foot that those other two don't have. Point being, it made it possible for me to dig our heavy, trodden soil enough that I could plant some flowers.

The right tool can make all the difference. Knowing which tool to use, knowing how to use it... and maybe even more importantly, knowing what tools are actually available. If you don't know, you wouldn't know to try it. Like my fork-ish digger. I would never have known to ask for it, and I've yet to see one in any garden supply store. I just happen to have one thanks to a friend (who never got it back, by the way - I think there's an earlier post about that).

Sometimes it's necessary to go out and find a new tool; sometimes you can make do with what you've got, or somehow re-purpose. Sometimes you've got just the right thing but you don't even realize it, or maybe it just needs a bit of a tweak or some fuel. Sometimes you have to look darn hard for the right tool... that exact right thing could be tossed aside or deeply buried or somehow misplaced.

Some tools are easy to use, maybe even intuitive, and require no instruction or explanation. Some require expert advice; others require someone with only a little more experience to show us or explain proper usage. It's important to differentiate which is the right way at the right time with the tool at hand.

Bottom line is that having the right tool when you need it most can really make a difference and it's important to notice what the true need is. Especially when something isn't working, or feels missing, not quite right...

Side note: there's a 'possum in my back porch compost bucket! I've noticed some scavenging going on, but thought it was probably raccoons! But no, it's a funny little "Spy VS Spy" critter.