I am learning to comprehend the Buddhist admonition that we create our own suffering. My garden teaches me. Here’s the dilemma: do I enjoy what I do or worry about what I can’t do?
I had a mini-breakthrough last week when I realized that with a bit of work on my patios, I enjoy my garden just as it is. I lie on the hammock and read while gardenias perfume the air. I enjoy my breakfast watching the finches hang from their bag of seeds.
Empty plant containers, random tags from vegetables planted last year, two pair of gloves and four seed packets, sidetrack me. My garden tools are strewn around in hope that I will spare some time to weed, stake, repair drip lines and fertilize the fruit trees. The chairs are still dusty from the winter and the seat cushions for the arbor are high in the garage shelves.
The beauty in my garden thrills me each time I look out the window or go out the door. When I drive up to my house I my breath catches at the sight of abundant blooms and lush greenery.
Instantly a stab of dismay follows the moment of joy as I see the spent blossoms that need to be deadheaded, or the weed towering higher than the anemone. I walk past a blooming rhododendron adjacent to one that bloomed last week and needs to be trimmed and fertilized. I cringe at the curly leaves on my pear tree and stumble over the gallon of fish fertilizer that would cure the problem.
So I went to my yard today. I picked roses for the wicker table on the front porch so that I can smell them when I sit there for coffee in the mornings. I tied up the Wisteria. I cleaned one of the fountains. I planted the Morning Glory starts. I potted an Iris for a friend.
The longer I worked and the more tired I became, the more I worried about what I wasn’t doing. I didn’t get a drip on the lupine that is looking sad. I didn’t the climbing peach on a trellis. I didn’t …
I’m not going there. I’m working on the joys and losing the sighs. I’m remembering the Buddhist concept. Our thoughts are illusion (or delusion). The suffering is in my expectations: that I continue to believe I will catch up and be finished. The joy is in each moment of the process: the beauty of the plants, the feel of the soil and the reward of the effort. The outcome is only a bonus.
I’m stacking the books of short stories by the door near the hammock. I’m taking my bowl of cereal out the back door. I’m bringing more roses inside. I’m practicing the lessons of my garden.