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‘Be The Garden’ – Late October Disorder

‘Be The Garden’ – Late October Disorder

October 28th, 2011 (No Comments)

“Being the garden” in the middle of autumn is complicated. As one who revels in order and a sense of completion, I am always grateful when this time of the year has passed. Today, the garden is in great disarray. Winds and rain have wreaked havoc with tender stems, pulled down a birdhouse and flattened once magnificent borders. Countless weeds are sporting their bounteous seed packets, just waiting for the next sunny day to gleefully multiply. Come back next month at this time and hopefully the leaves will be raked, the broken plant stems and shriveled annuals will be molding on the compost instead of in plain view, the fragile tubers of dahlias, and cannas stored away in the basement. Like at the end of a long active family day the house will be tidied, the dishwasher humming, and all the children tucked asleep in their beds.

There is something about us humans that tends towards needing order.  We have little patience with the transitional seasons of mess and disorder, when life teeters on the brink of chaos. It is hard to stay present to the unfinished, the unknown, and the disaster that feels like it might be waiting around the corner unless we work to keep it at bay. Meanwhile, if we stop long enough to listen and pay attention, a whole new vista awaits.

This splendid circus of color and confusion, all of fall’s unpredictable weather patterns bring snapshots of unparalleled beauty.  Who hasn’t marveled in the constantly changing parade of fall foliage, the morning mist trapping the heat of summer, or the spectacular autumn sunsets? Have you noticed the incredible colors of certain seeds? The way each leaf twirls in a different dance to meet the ground?  Rot and decay become divine artistry when seen in fungi and slime molds. The earth is burgeoning with surprise. It is in fall that I often come upon my friend the praying mantis hiding in the vines.  How about those zillion little creatures that scurry away when you lift up a planter?

Autumn is a season of opposites. On one hand the melancholy of death howls the loudest; all that green, all that flaming color evaporates into thin air, leaving the stark blacks and grays and the dull ochre of decaying matter. But despite this more obvious dying process, in autumn a new vista opens. Sometimes just clearing out weeds, fallen leaves and general garden detritus reveals another view. With fresh clarity I can see that genuine transformation has taken place since this time last year, or five … ten … years ago. Subtle change is also easier to perceive with the more expansive view this season brings. Summer in all her glory has a way of overwhelming me with her abundance, but once the leaves fall and settle – after all that swirling – maybe we can find way to see more clearly.

Is it possible to find a place of rest in the midst of the swirl of the unfinished and the ache of unfulfilled longing? Today can we let our souls lead us to a shift of perspective, maybe the discovery of some wide open space within us? What gifts does this beautiful and messy season of autumn want to offer you today?  


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