This has been a long, cold winter and we are all suffering from some degree of cabin fever. I am offering again a blog that I wrote in 2014 to help lift your spirits. I hope you enjoy it.
Our lives are woven of rhythmic threads of many kinds. With some of the rhythms of life, we are keenly aware of the dynamics involved, and others often go unrecognized as the demands of daily life consume our attention.
Most obvious to us are the rhythms of sleep and wakefulness, work and daily chores, leisure time and play, busy activity and quiet time, habits and rituals, human interaction and times of solitude, birth, growth, decline and death. As we move along the span of life, these rhythms form a complex tapestry of life experience that varies tremendously from one person to the next.
Some lives are a rich fabric of accomplishment, creativity, love, sharing and generosity. The rhythms of other lives are far different, having been interrupted, compromised, and diminished by poverty, neglect, handicaps, and lack of opportunity, education and wise mentoring. In a utopia, limitations would melt away, and all people would enjoy a very positive life experience, but in the real world, many lives fall far short of happiness and fulfillment. Nevertheless, we can all make choices that reward us, even if in small measure.
As we reflect on our own lives, an opportunity exists to engage in simple activities that are likely to raise our awareness and experience of some of the most rewarding rhythms of life. Time devoted to being actively or contemplatively involved with plants and the natural world usually helps us feel a stronger connection with the positive aspects of in the world. As we watch a plant grow from a seed into a source of food, or a beautiful flower, or a tree that shades and cools a home, or provides the lumber to build a home, we gain a deeper appreciation of what life is: dynamic, ever-changing, creative, productive and ultimately entering into a cycle of decline, death and rebirth. Plants show us the whole cycle in a year’s time, beginning with planting, germination, growth, flowering, fruiting, harvest and finally death or dormancy.
One person may be incredibly involved in designing, planting, tending, and growing an elaborate collection of landscaped areas. Someone else with physical abilities limited by age, or handicaps of various kinds, may simply engage in quiet contemplation of the world of plants. In either case, much satisfaction can be gained from allowing you to have some kind of relationship to the world of growing plants, and nature in general.
One person may experience the rhythms of life by watching a house plant go through its annual cycles and another person may embark on an epic journey deep into the wilderness to make a connection with the best that nature and plants have to offer us in spiritual enrichment and renewal.
One person may touch the rhythms of the natural world by planting a small garden, while the farmer down the road may make his or her connection with and contribution to the greater good by raising and harvesting hundreds or thousands of acres that feed the world. Each can experience a similar sense of satisfaction and connectedness, despite the great differences in the scale of involvements with green and growing organisms. Whether we involve ourselves with artfully designed gardens and fancy hybrid varieties, or a quiet corner of a city park, or the most remote and wild places on the planet earth, we can experience a greater connection to the rhythm of life.
There is something soothing, comforting and satisfying about observing and growing plants. Take a walk in the woods or prairie; plant a small pot of bulbs on the window sill, or plant thousands of trees to restore a degraded acreage, and you will connect you to the rhythms of life. These are the rhythms of your life, the tapesty of your life made richer by intentionally taking some of your time, energy and attention to connect with the world of growing living plants. Enjoy the journey, feel the rhythms, drink in the beauty and fill your soul. Spring is coming!