Let Life Happen Around You

This weekend, I went to the garden to gather up the last of the tomatoes (that's right, still had a few good tomatoes in November) and peppers, and to take up the stakes and wire that supported some of the taller plants in the garden. While I was completing the task, I was thinking of the work that went into the garden this year and the different approach to weeding I utilized.  

I was much more "hands off" with the weeding this year. I kept the weeds knocked down immediately adjacent to the plants and completely out of the herb section. Yet in other areas, I allowed the weeds to grow freely. What I found during this very dry, near-drought year was that by letting go of trying to control the weeds, they provided an abundance of flowers that attracted many bees along with the flowers we planted for the bees. The weeds helped to hold the moisture in the soil rather than it being baked by the sun. 


By allowing the garden to mature in its own way with a light guiding hand, we were blessed with a bumper crop of just about every vegetable, herb, flower, tuber, and seed we could use this year. As a matter of fact, we still have so many beets and carrots, I'm hoping we can harvest and eat them before the park rangers plow the community garden in preparation for winter. We have plenty to eat fresh, yet not enough left to can or pickle. 

I feel that the growth and evolution of the Naturopathic Gathering has blossomed in much the same way.  Each year, each hosting school honors the tradition of the Gathering while adding its own energy to the event. In many ways, the plans, details and intricacies of the event evolve even as it is taking shape. The natural changes of the Gathering over the past year, the weeds, the flowers, the inspirational bees arriving to pollinate great ideas never dreamed of until a specific moment when a few minds come together. 

That being said, I'll share a little story to close. As I was gathering a large storage bin that holds our watering hose, I picked up the bin only to disturb a family of four field mice who were snugly napping in their den hollowed out into the soil underneath the bin. I heard a "squeak," and looked down into the eyes of a little mouse looking up at me as if to say, "Why did you take my house?" Well, I tell ya, I felt terrible as the little field mice all ran in different directions. I know, I know! These are pests, rodents, and they carry disease!

These little field mice were living in an environment muddled up by my presence with my cultivation of the field where they were living, in my opinion. So, I took some action to give them a bit of a house back. I took some large stones that were big enough to cover their den and leave the little tunnels for them. I piled more stones on top of those and filled in with dirt all around the little mound in the hopes that they would return and have a place to keep warm this winter. In this sense, my placement of a foreign object in the process of changing the natural state of the garden gave a home to the little field mice. My removal of the foreign object (the storage container), then forced these little guys to abandon their home and most likely relocate in the time of year when they are in critical need of shelter. Just another reminder that each and every action we take has an impact, whether in our gardens, lives or interactions with others. The touch we put on these actions hopefully leaves a positive impact. I hope tonight the little critters have a home and that my "hands on" placement of the container has not caused them harm.

What is the take-away thought that is related to school this week? Given that all classes require a tight "hands on" approach to research, study, citation and thought, I guess my writing this week is about a "hands off" approach to life, its twists, turns, surprises and events. Life is going to happen. It will be happy, sad, challenging, easy at times, yet we will wake each day and go through our routine while at the same time experiencing something new every day. Drop your hands every now and then and let life happen around you. Immerse yourself in the most mundane and routine parts of your day and enjoy the boring little moments. You just might be surprised by a little bee with a wonderful idea that you've never seen before.