the blossoming

for p

when i moved with my new husband to this place 8 years ago, and found myself somehow ensconced in the barren landscape of suburbia with its relentlessly domesticated and squared off monotony, i had no choice but to attempt to create the natural beauty for which i longed. being planted firmly in a parcel of earth that, like myself, had been stripped and reduced to an artificial image of beauty that allowed for little self-expression was an invitation for healing us both, and so I dug in.

from the beginning i knew on a soul-level that this was sacred work, sensed that giving life back to the earth would bring something to back to life in me. loving something enough to give it back itself is indeed soul work. it was what healed me, after all — being seen as sacred and blessed and beautiful breathed spirit back into my life.

of course, there were many lessons i hadn’t anticipated. along the way, i learned such things as the importance of feeding the soil, composting last year’s throw-aways to be used nourishment for this year’s growth. i learned that some things just will not thrive when planted in the wrong environment, despite those pithy quotes that suggest we should all ‘bloom where we are planted’ — but i also learned something of grace and second chances (and third and fourth ones). i learned that some things require many seasons of patience and belief despite all appearances. and i learned mostly that loving something thoroughly, enduringly, unconditionally allows it at last to blossom.

now that we are soon to be moving, some do not understand why i continue to plant new seeds, pull new weeds, offer support to new growths and trim old ones. of course, it could be explained away by my love of creating, my love of touching the earth, my relationship to beauty, my desire for healing…. that it is as much ‘who i am’ as it is ‘what i do’…. but that does not fully describe the shift in me lately. when i am out there working, it feels like a true labor of love. perhaps i am at last learning something about detached love…. an idea that had not sunken from a head-knowing to an embodied knowing quite this fully before. i could never really understand how one can truly love something and not be attached to it. isn’t that what love does?

as i am out there weeding, watering, trimming, i find myself feeling privileged to be offering this beauty as gift to another, equally privileged to have been given the opportunity to participate with this plot of earth in bringing forth such beauty, grateful for the gifts it has given to me in return. at other times, i consider that a new owner might wipe this slate clean, just as the beautiful sand mandalas are brushed or blown clean after the painstaking work/prayer of creating them. it is then that i realize that this work too has been prayer –deep prayer, transformative prayer—and that, as with all good prayer, it is i who have been changed in the process.

these past few last weeks, i have been making a practice of taking a morning prayer stroll through the gardens. i remember doing this many years ago in that other house, after coming back from walking the kids to the school bus, i’d amble about the gardens in the springtime, both quieted and entranced by what was coming up. the earth was offering its healing to me even then.

when you consider the wonder of it all, i have had so little to do with this creation of beauty! my small part at the tail end of millenia. my rudimentary organization of nature’s raw materials, seems trivial when i pause to ponder the intricate detail of even one small blossom on the tiniest flower in the garden and the mind-boggling organization of its strands of dna, whose segments of genes somehow express its particular shape, color, scent, pattern, season of bloom, etc. what makes this particular color of violet, for instance, in this cup-shaped blossom, which is lined up with dozens of other cup-shaped blossoms along the curve of a slender stem, which arises from palm shaped leaves that push up through the earth like spear points before finally opening their hands? multiply that particular wonder times millions to account for each blossom, leaf shape, stem, root structure, tree bark, energy gathering and transforming mechanism, ad infinitum in the garden, and i quickly realize how small a part in the creation of this beauty I have been.

can one ‘create’ beauty at all then? or does one simply make space for it to emerge…. allow it, see it, open to it, witness its unfolding, encourage its potential. perhaps we are like those angels, whispering ‘grow, grow’ over tiny blades of grass, loving something into becoming itself.

when i was a young woman i believed that my beauty would bring me love. now that i am an older one, i am realizing that it is my love that brings me beauty. i have poured my love upon this place like last week’s drenching rains. there is something terribly beautiful about water droplets on blossoms, about flowers laying over on the grass from the weight of so many droplets.

if it is as they say that all of our little deaths in life are practice and preparation for the final one, then this experience of letting go is showing me that i will no doubt be delighting in the beauty of this place, tasting it on my lips, with my final breath. i feel so blessed to taste the delight of Sophia as she was/is at dawn of creation. i am somehow ‘bound to beauty’, as She said to me in the dream.

perhaps delight itself is the ultimate creative act. if all of this is true –that loving something well, seeing its sacredness, witnessing its becoming, delighting in it allows it to blossom more fully — then what/who must be delighting in me and at my own blossoming that is encouraging this beauty in me? jus pondering this thought awakens something deep in me.

i have been noticing alot lately this tension that we humans seem to have between our deep yearnings for something more and our deeper awareness that all is already as it should be, that love is present always. i think though that this point of tension need not be an either/or place, but instead a place of creation, a place of great beauty, a place of deep delight,  a connecting point between the human and the divine. i think it is possible to walk through the garden and see beauty everywhere and at the same time desire to bring forth something particular in a particular place that is not yet visible. i think it is possible to know that no matter where you walk you will see and know Love, and yet to decide to walk a particular path because it draws you…. not with the expectation that getting to that particular place will make you ‘happy’ or fulfilled at last, but because you know that Love will be there too, as it is here now. so why not walk in the direction of your particular delight if that might help to bring forth healing and beauty in this place?

i know it matters not specifically what i do with this one wild and precious life. in my own case, my need to be close to the earth, my need to be engaged in a creative life, and my desire to be an agent of healing and beauty in some way might be combined in myriad ways. i envision these particular needs and desires of mine as building blocks that might be put together in a wild assortment of ways to create a multitude of possible shapes of a life that might fulfill this blessed human need in me to manifest something meaningful. i imagine it rather like those strands of dna, made up of but a few basic building blocks, enfleshing the vast array of possibility surrounding me in the garden. no one particular expression is THE expression , but as a being made up of such creative stuff, it seems i have no choice but to be creative myself!

i find that thought delightful.

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