We finished the other plot yesterday afternoon. It went much faster because Val and Sophia were really helping me. This plot is also not as deep as the other one so there was less to dig. Val concentrated on removing the weeds, while Sophia concentrated on helping me turn over the soil, and Val joined us for the later part of the soil-turning. They were both so understanding and helpful it really made me feel so touched. It was really beautiful too; three of us in a row, turning the soil, observing the pill bugs, looking for worms, and just talking about the earth, and plants and growing. Several times Sophia reminded me to be careful of my belly and kept talking about how she loved helping me. I love to hear her talk. She is still inter-changing her “y” sound with the “l” sound, so when she sees a pill bug and goes, “Look! Look!”, it comes out as “Yook! Yook!” and I just love it. I do not bother to correct her because I know she will make her way there when she is ready. I kissed her several times and told her what a pleasure it was to have her working next to me. What a glorious afternoon. It felt sweet. Refreshingly sweet. Not like the sweetness of honey but the type that nourishes and refreshes, like drinking from a spring of sweet, clean water and feeling so clearly how the water washes through you, cleansing you and making you feel so good all over.
The girls took turn planting the different seeds, and every time Val will want to pick up and hold and touch a seed, even if it was not her turn. She was very amazed how tiny some seeds were, or how unique the shape could be. We discussed how long it will take for the seeds to sprout, then grow into seedlings, and then mature into plants that bear flowers, and then fruits. It really is amazing what a small little seed can do, given the right environment and the opportunity. Yesterday I heard a small part of a fascinating discussion on NPR about how tall a redwood tree can grow. The author who wrote a book about it said the seed is really tiny- if put on a dime, it will not even cover the date on it, but give it two thousand years and it will grow big and tall, and develop its very own ecosystem that scientists are still working to unravel. It reminded me about one of my blog entries about how fast and strong the luffa grew, and I ended that entry on the note not to under-estimate what a small little seed can do!
It is just like the seeds that we plant in our minds, or gets planted into our minds. Those little messages about who we are, our history, our potential. Evaluations of us, expectations of us. Our dreams, our desires, our secrets and our fears. Given the right environment, some of these seeds will grow, and some will die a natural death. I had to think what seeds I had planted in this mind of mine. I feel like opening up my brain and having a look inside. They are probably in different stages of growth and not all properly labeled. I wonder if one’s subconscious mind can eradicate the “bad” seeds and nurture only the good ones? i became conscious of what seeds I am planting into my children’s brains. I may have tossed in stuff carelessly, and by twist of fate, it will grow and bother them in their adulthood. It’s not a very comforting thought. It made me want to be very much more mindful, and more observant of my actions.
The girls like to collect seeds and they now know where we can get them. I am not sure how cognizant they are about the cycles that goes on and on around us all the time. The cycle of the seasons, the cycle of the planets, the moon, the stars; of Life in general. I think about the other cycles in my life, the repetition of cleaning the house every week, laundry every week, grocery every week. The inescapable truth of mess, dust and filth manifesting and recycling themselves continuously. And thus the wheel is set forth without my consent, and much to my dismay and displeasure- clean, clean and clean every week! It never stops. I have questioned myself many times over when or how will I ever find peace with housework and the like? I have come to recognize that dust is an essential component of our lives. We have to brush teeth everyday, like it or not. It is a way of respecting our body. So, keeping the house clean is also a way of respecting our space, but why do I resent it so much? I have reminded myself also many times the Zen monks who have to sweep every morning, no matter what. It is a part of meditation, it IS meditation and i have attempted to regard my housework as meditation, but often without success. Why is there a difference in how I regard the cycles of Nature versus that of Life? Why the annoyance? Why the non-acceptance?
Do I not love myself enough to create a clean, uncluttered space for myself? Do I not love my family enough to foster a dimension of calm and beauty for them?
If the house gets messy again, is it not an indication that it is being used? Is it not a joy that its occupants are fit and healthy to move through this space, and to create, and to move things around? Is it not an honor that I am able-bodied enough to clean a house? Someone said to not mourn one’s aging, or to take it for granted, for this is a privilege not granted to every person. This is so true. So, if I am breathing today, and able to clean my house, knowing fully that it will not remain in a “perfect” state for more than a second, is that not an honor? Is that not beauty? And is that not Joy and Acceptance?
Perhaps this cycle of cleanliness and filth is too short; unlike the seasonal rhythms that trickle through our lives; the human cycle of creation and destruction is swift, even cruel. How do I make peace with it all? Perhaps by not segregating so much my life, the man-made one, with the natural one outside. I think also the magnitude of it all overwhelms me, and to see one’s incompetence in the face of the scale of the job just frustrates me and makes me abandon it all. I am just unable to be all-seeing and all-present. I spend two hours a week to do the basic stuff, and then suddenly, I see a layer of dust on the television when i sit down to fold the laundry. I need to look for a book and suddenly find my shelves in total disarray. A friend steps into the kitchen and the scum in the sink started to scream out at me. All those little nitty gritty…. not even details. To another more thorough person, these are all evidences of my deliberate oversight. And a lot of the times, that is the truth. I just want an uncluttered path from the bedroom to the kitchen to the garage; a reasonable amount of counter space for cooking and baking, a chair to sit on to do my emails. Everything else I have no capacity to attend to unless “someone is bleeding”. Well, perhaps I need to be more allergic to dust!
But I think again and Spring does not just descend upon the earth in one day, within the span of a minute. It creeps in and slowly manifests itself until one fine day we flung our arms open, grin widely and think, “Wow! It’s Spring! I can’t believe it!”– as if it was an overnight occurrence but of course it was not, and never will be. First, there will be the merry whisperings that manifests themselves as small tiny sprouts of leaves and flower buds; then, the whisperings start to get louder, as blue skies sing to us and the temperatures begin to climb steadily; the world slowly starts to get colored, flushed and excited with the beginning of a new cycle. Soon, the singing breaks into rounds of chorus, all reaching a height of crescendo when we look up and finally realize, finally hear! finally see! Spring is here! Suddenly, color is seen everywhere, springing out and waving wildly at us; the birds are chirping like crazy and everything is mating like nuts. Pheromones and hormones release like unbridled horses.
And so, a totally clean and uncluttered house is not going to happen overnight either, unless my fairy godmother is to suddenly remember me and find my updated address. I am not totally optimistic, but slowly, hopefully, the seeds of cleanliness and the seeds of joyful order will creep in, and grow. And finally perhaps I can claim a small piece of heaven where I find peace and order. It will have to cycle of course, since our lives are not stagnant and one should never suppress the urge and desire to move things; but perhaps I have found a perspective that I can live with. All because of the seeds and their cycles!
To think of it, this issue of physical space is easier to deal with. I cannot wait to examine the seeds planted in my brain, and wonder also if it is at all possible, but this will not be today.
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