The Soulful Circle of Paradox
The Soulful Circle of Paradox
It’s that stretching season again – early spring – those days when we strain our heads into the future, reaching away from the dark roots of winter that attempt to freeze us in place. This is often the season for false starts, wishful prayers and jack-rabbit leaps of faith. One 55 degree day last week, in my imagination that spring had arrived (a month earlier than advised), I planted peas and spinach outside. It’s a long shot because to be more realistic, these can be some of the most bone-chilling days of the year, when wind driven icy-cold rain chills the marrow of hope, when patience is tested, when human need for action cripples the tender sprouting of true soul growth that always takes place in its time.
This past week I have sat in mud-encrusted trenches planting asparagus, rhubarb and strawberries and also struggled with the complexity of paradox: aware of a dear friend in ICU, of underemployed loved ones who plod forward faithfully in the wasteland of economic gloom, of the death of a colleague and daily watching our aging dog Zeti, loll in the sunshine – she now chronically limps and has precipitously gone deaf.
Delighting in outdoor work with a healthy body and mind, I am stirred with all of this as I haul huge stones around the land; walking inside shoes that get heavier with each muddy step forward. I see the first rock iris and the first bold crocus press their colorful faces out of the damp earth, and I feel the tug of death and the foreboding shadows of the unknown. It is no wonder that we as gardeners relish the indoor seed flats that are beginning to sprout with the promise of lush summer bounty! There is a certain assurance that all will be well in the world when the plant stand springs fluorescent lights again.
I believe that my work in the world is to keep on planting: like a farmer, whether it is sowing words, or seeds, or simple actions; each breath becomes a prayer holding the promise that life will return across the planet and to next door. This week I have been delighted when dead mentors arise and inspire me with hope, lives that still bring inspiration across the span of time. Like M.C Richards and her book ‘Centering’ written in 1962, which found its way into my hands and heart. It is packed with new/old treasure I am exploring.
Examine the picture of these shriveled, white asparagus roots – looking like spooky dead spiders perched on top of almost a foot of last year’s composted dinner peelings and garden detritus. Behold – magnificent symbols of resurrection!
And today when I read of tornado devastation in Kentucky and all week hold the plight of the suffering in Syria, I cannot shut my eyes and ears to the cries of pain. I continue to plant hopeful seeds into the ground at Stonehaven, into my novel writing, and into people’s messy lives. Practically speaking, how do you continue to act with the hopeful energy of spring while holding winter’s sorrow? I’d love to hear from you here. Please respond to this blog in any way – it’s all about enjoying the harvest of hard work performed within the deep and soulful circle of paradox.