Lost in the Garden

I lose all sense of time in the garden, and then I lose myself. It’s a common enough experience among gardeners. After the first flurry of harvesting, tying back overgrown tomatoes and moving hoses about, observing life’s cycle from seed to flower to fruit then back to seed, and all the while conscious of my own aging body as it bends and complains within this bounteous space, another state emerges. My pragmatic self surrenders to a semi- conscious meditation on the essence of being. Through silent awareness and invisibility, the sounds and signals of earth- primordial, spiritual, supreme- reinforce the idea of Anattā, that Buddhist concept of non-being.

It begins with a chive flower waving in the gentle breeze, now taller than the blanketing pumpkin leaves, insisting on more light. The delicate white coriander flowers belie the true pungency of their leaves, roots and seeds. Things are not what they seem. Then a strange bird call punctures the silence. High pitched like a creaking table, the sound is urgent but not bleak. I look up and see a flash of yellow underneath a broad wing span of black. It’s the yellow -tailed black cockatoo, an infrequent visitor to these lightly wooded lands. Now one, now two more, followed by a train of rasping sound, they are on their way to a distant pine tree. Word is out that the nuts are ready to strip. The guard cocky stands alert, signalling from the highest branch, a two-dimensional black stencil, a wayang puppet, an inked picture outlined in the early morning sky.

The bluest of blue of the radicchio flower is a call to the bees. I can never find the word for this blue: constructs such as Cobalt or Persian or Cornflower might have to do. And the little gem of a beetle, friend or foe, travels across a furry field that is an eggplant leaf. The mauve and white bean flowers peep from the darkness of their leafy canopy, an arrangement, a posy, a boutoniere. The beans can wait.


Travel Theme: Simplify

In her introduction to this week’s travel theme, Ailsa, from Where’s My Backpack referred to Henry Thoreau’s ‘Walden’.  I was delighted to be reminded of this contemplation on simple living after so many years.  I recall reading this many years ago as a student and remember thinking at the time that it was rather self-indulgent and tedious.  Even though I am much older now and hopefully wiser, and definitely more opinionated, I still think this is the case.

As for the theme, simplify, this is something that we should all reflect upon from time to time. Time spent at Wilson’s Promontory, Victoria, Australia gives the visitor time to live simply, walk, enjoy native flora and fauna and beautiful rock formations like the one below.

A Rock in Tidal River, Wilson's Promontory, Australia.
A Rock in Tidal River, Wilson’s Promontory, Australia.