lettuce and dill, 2012
I was talking with my father yesterday about meditation. It's been very hot where he lives, so he's been spending his time indoors reading about such things, meditating, and making plans to take his new sailboat out when the weather cools. He's a man of many interests.
I told him I had difficulty with what I believed to be meditation--clearing one's mind. He said the mind mustn't be clear, thoughts are to be accepted and then let go. No need for harsh scrutiny of self. He also told me that his view of meditation was based on focus.
He shared a memory with me of being a young man, with a brown paper sack of ripe peaches, visiting the beach in summer. He described the details of the warm sand, the preference of sitting in the sand versus upon a towel, his delight in biting into the sweet juicy peaches, and the sound and view of the vast body of water before him. He remembered it all, vividly.
This is my meditation he told me. I've always meditated.
I said Oh, so it's more like being completely present. I do that. Maybe I inherited the trait from you. I guess I meditate too.
I don't know if Dad's version of meditation matches what others believe, but I like it.
Today I went out to our garden to quickly harvest some lettuces. As it turned out, there was nothing quick about my visit. I got lost. No, I didn't forget how to find our garden, I got lost in the garden. Maybe the best way to put it is I sort of spaced out, but not in a dangerous way. It's what happens in gardens. If you garden, perhaps you know it too.
Sadly, two more of my cucumber vines had been gnawed at the base of the stem by an anonymous critter and therefore put out of commission. Earlier the same thing had happened to another cucumber plant, and several of my green bean plants. So unfortunate, but we move on, right?
Anyway, I spent a long time untangling my gnawed cucumber vines from my healthy vines, picking the young almost ripe cucumbers on those vines, visiting the compost pile, discovering some beautifully ripe cucumbers, a yellow crookneck squash that seemed to have doubled in size overnight, basil, dill, chives, a few green beans, and harvesting a bountiful supply of gorgeous leaves from two types of lettuce plants.
I arrived back in the cottage much later than anticipated, a bit disheveled, yet happy and feeling completely accomplished. Chris looked at me, amused. I'd gone into some sort of auto-pilot mode out there. I didn't really think about what I was doing, I just did. It's like falling into a dream state and then waking up and thinking how much time has passed? Who filled this bowl with produce?
It wasn't really what Dad described, but there was a similarity. It was the opposite of noticing every detail and much more about working though details on pure instinct. Maybe dealing with these edible plants is something passed down from ancestors of long ago, those who depended on these behaviors for survival. I'm not sure.
I clearly wasn't in survival mode, but while I was out there my mind was clear, very clear. Not one thought from any other part of my life entered that garden, and that clearing took no conscious effort. Maybe this is my meditation.