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Monday, February 13, 2012

The Journal of a Reluctant Gardener: Prologue

I enjoy practicing writing. One day I may achieve something but today I enjoyed writing. This is a work of truth and fiction and I plan to write a story one blog entry at a time. I will add to it as I am inspired and edit it as I become aware. The main character... a gardener of course!

The Journal of a Reluctant Gardener


     I’ve been gardening more years then I can remember. Time is a funny matter of perspective and memory. I measure my existence by the changing seasons while I watch life go on around me. I attempt to live by engaging life whenever I can. Sometimes I find myself watching too much and acting too little. Living is an action that takes effort. Even with intent, we don’t always have the strength for the full effort. We even lose our way, finding ourselves on some muddled path, engaging life in some nonsensical way. Getting off that path is always more difficult than finding it. A slap in the face, a cold pale of water or a hard look in the mirror would be a nice way to be ‘snapped out of it’ as a way to realize we need to get off that path. Sadly, it sometimes takes something tragic for us to make changes. Sometimes it takes something spiritual but most of the time it just takes effort at that moment when we  first notice.

     Our existence and opportunity to engage and live life is limited between birth and death. It isn’t the earth that really ages, it is us. Very little ultimately changes from earth to sky or between the rains and snows. The earth is a constant and although it shifts with quakes and storms; it stretches well beyond the flash of our lives. In the same breath of the fun childhood conversion of dog to human years; earth to human years must be nearly a thousand to one. The earth ages very little while we are alive. What we do during our God gifted time is held within our hands and shaped with our actions. The earth has time to sit and watch. We don’t but for those thoughtful occasions.

     I never thought much about death until my fortieth year. It was always a distant disbelief that happened to the aged or accidental. With age, at least I hope, comes wisdom about life and living. While we all exist, we must also understand how to live and engage life. I don’t expect to gain or learn everything about the wisdom of living just because I age, none of us should. There are some adults at fifty that are dimmed by the brilliance of a young adult. We should however try to understand, after each season, how to get a little bit better at living and engaging life. We aren’t potatoes growing in a field who are destined to continue to grow in a field because our parents grew in a field. We are potatoes that can put on ears, eyes, noses, mouths and other accessories. And more importantly we can use them as we wish.

     There are miracles to be found around us every day. Sadly, we often look for the water walkers or the potato chips that look like Jesus or related. Our eyes may be open but our heads often stay turned to the same focus point. We may never even realize why we choose to focus on the areas in which we look. But we do have to realize when it is time to look in other places. That, in part, is wisdom. Blinders can be worn and put there by others or they can be constructed in our minds. Sometimes wisdom and answers are found beneath and within a garden. Wisdom that is beyond what we see or what is growing around us. It is the kind of wisdom that can only be found in the actions of  the gardeners and their visitors; wisdom far beyond the old garden metaphors like the seed.

     Our lives can be compared to a seed, true. It is an overused metaphor that overly simplifies existence and yet it still fails to capture the act and perhaps even the art to living life. I believe God created the rules of the Universe which we call Nature. In his wisdom he allowed the Universe to evolve under Nature’s rules. We are unique with respect to how we and our planet evolved but the principles of Nature are always true, no matter where life exists or where life may be found.

    A seed’s growth is Nature or existence. Tending to that seed and creating the garden for it to grow in - is living life. Anyone can create a child. Nature, God’s rules, designed us and world that way. However, not everyone can raise a child well and with good intentions. There is a difference. That difference being our actions, intent and desire to do more good than harm. It is the way we choose to engage life and it is the way we choose to teach life to our children. It is a way to act and live.  A seed will grow if it is well cared for or neglected - as will a child. We choose everyday between the act of existing and the art of  living.

Copyright February 2012 Gary Pilarchik

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