The Garden Speaks to Post-Election Day Reality

The Garden Speaks to Post-Election Day Reality

November 7th, 2012 (2 Comments)

It’s over – finally. In classic human tradition, we have a winner and we have a loser. But is it not true that each of us, politicians and citizens alike, walk out of this one with more of a limp, less of a swagger. The most difficult work of rebuilding trust has barely begun. It starts with each of our hearts. As Parker Palmer has said so eloquently and passionately, the true work of democracy begins inside. It continues through deep, authentic conversations, grounded in humility in diverse community.  It is more than ever time to listen and change our lives and communities from the inside-out. The garden here at Stonehaven spoke to me this morning — I thought I’d pass her guidance along.

I have never seen this property in such a mess: a combination from the neglect of an overly busy schedule promoting my new novel, the results of Sandy, and early deep freezes. The beauty of summer lies shriveled on withering branches. Wilted flowers hang forlornly in the climbing vines. Buds that never opened exclaim their shocked distress. Piles of branches, twigs and leaves strewn by wind, lie in all four directions. Hours of work lie ahead of me. When will I ever finally find time to attend this disaster zone? In the meantime I can turn my head and ignore the catastrophe and keep on being busy in other “more-important” matters, hang my head in shame and embarrassment for being such a negligent care-taker, or I can keep my eyes open and learn from Earth who teaches us in all seasons.

In-between seasons are messy! Trying to tidy up this property in a frenzy of work will only destroy peace for me and this Earth community. Nature has a way of re-ordering herself through chaotic times of transition. For living beauty to re-emerge, we have to learn to first live with confusing disarray of death. This is the time to evaluate, and consider what is truly good and necessary work, and what can be put out to compost.  Maybe the process is the same whether it is about our gardens, or politics, or our inner selves.

Maybe Earth is pleading with us to slow down and first look at the mess we are in – to sort out the hidden treasures in the storms of this present darkness. Maybe we are all being called to enter a shadow season, a time to admit the enormous conceit of any “one-way” system, a time to hunker down in thoughtful reflection with less frenetic need to have all the answers and get the job done now. Maybe we need to start with more intimate conversation about how to nourish goodness and gentleness and compassion in our lives as individuals and as a nation. Maybe then we can all wait with more patience with the mess we are in. Maybe together, with all of life, we will re-envision simple steps toward re-building and healing. 

One simple gift of today are the fat flower seeds that now hang exposed among dried leaves. I gathered many in before the wind and snow flies tonight. In each precious kernel rests next year’s abundance.  It would have been easy to ignore their offered silent presence. I wonder what else rests in hope below the mess of this ravaged garden of our national lives. What many seeds of courage and beauty can we store away for our grandchildren and for this bountiful Earth we live on?


2 Responses

  1. Beautifully put, Carol! I applaud that you found life and hope in that which is no longer – apparently – alive, and that it allows us a glimpse into the magnificent analogy of your garden and life. Blessings

  2. Deb Berghuis says:

    I love hearing the Garden Speak. Thank you for giving it a voice. My own messy garden is calling me to ignore the mess, and capture this perfect moment for planting bulbs. They’ll help me wait in hope, trusting beauty to emerge in its own good time – after waiting awhile out of sight in the deathless earth.

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