Tending the Garden

As we tend the Monastery garden, we get to bring more and more conscious awareness to the multitudes of processes in the garden, and to how we can work together with them. We get to pay attention to how we can get out of the way and let the processes unfold, and facilitate them where we can. Some examples of this from earlier in the year include leaving fava stems standing after the plants have finished producing beans, instead of cutting them down, so that stem-nesting bees have a place to nest. Or leaving material cut from plants in the bed, so that the plants can do their work of forming soil from it.

A line from a Wendell Berry poem keeps dropping in: “Teach me work that honors Thy work.” We get to practice an attitude of mind of turning to the processes in the garden and saying to them: teach us work that honors Thy work.

A big, concrete, daily training in this right now is making sure the plants have the water they need to make it through the drought conditions of summer until the rains arrive, stewarding the water captured from the winter’s rains in a way that’s best for All. It’s a practice of attending closely and not making assumptions; turning to the plants and the soil and asking: what now, Life?

We check a plant’s soil daily and respond to what a plant needs. It’s fun and interactive. We practice attuning to how the soil feels on the fingers, how its consistency and temperature change at different levels of moisture. We get to be participants with the plants, letting them teach us. And in our daily attending to them — showing up, paying attention, not making assumptions —we let the plants facilitate getting ego out of the way so that we can experience ever more deeply how Life is, and how it’s living us.

In gasshō,
Anna L.