Tag Archives: Gardens

May 31 – Morning Moments

by Linda Hoye

Finch-1-4

One of the great gifts of retirement is the opportunity to wake naturally in the morning when my body is ready. After so many years being jarred awake by the clamour of an alarm–too often after a mostly sleepless night and with my mind in go mode before my feet even hit the floor–to wake according to the rhythm of my body is a precious luxury.

These days I wake gently, often with the dawn in these late spring months. With the windows open, morning air fresh in the room, and the sound of birdsong filling the room, I surface slowly to a wakeful state. I stretch, perhaps holding lightly to the remnants of a dream, and listen to the calm cadence of my Yorkie Maya’s snoring and the peaceful resonance of Gerry’s breathing. The day stretches in front of me rich with possibility.

I take time to pray for those who are on my heart. I think about the day ahead–not in the hurried stomach-churning way I once did—instead making plans with gratitude and anticipation. There is work to be done: gardening, things around the house, and errands to run; there are also creative pursuits like photography prompts, writing projects, and even some quilting projects I’ve been thinking of getting back to.

There is satisfaction in knowing I have the gift of time and I can choose which activities to focus my attention on that day. I find deep satisfaction in living, not according to unrealistic deadlines and unrelenting demands all too common in the corporate world, but instead moving to the ebb and flow of this simple life we have chosen.

The June garden calls to me like a siren and, on those days when I can tell from the early morning air that it’s going to be a hot one, I make plans to head out early to work. On other days I consider the harvest that is already beginning: the canning, freezing, and dehydrating projects that are ahead of me; and I plan how I’ll fill the pantry this year. There is always something to think about; something to work on. I am busy according to my own schedule and pursuing passions that fulfill.

There are still challenges in this life: concerns about situations that cause angst; circumstances I can’t control; burdens that, at times, feel too heavy; but in these early morning hours when I linger in bed listening to the sweet melody of the finches waiting for the first rays of sun to come through the window, I am at peace and filled with gratitude.

These still morning moments strengthen me. I am blessed.

meLinda Hoye is a writer, editor, adoptee, and somewhat-fanatical grandma who recently retired from a twenty-five-year corporate career. She lives in British Columbia, Canada with her husband and their doted-upon Yorkshire Terrier and finds contentment in her kitchen, at her writing desk, behind her camera, and in her garden.

She is the author of Two Hearts: An Adoptee’s Journey Through Grief to Gratitude and blogs at A Slice of Life.

September 18 – Trouble in Paradise

by Carol Ziel

He gave me an evil eye and swished his bushy tail.  Eyeball to eyeball we squared off as he raised one succulent tulip bulb to me.  He seemed to be having a “Bogart” moment, saying: “Here’s looking at you, Kid!” He chomped once and tossed the remains into the quince bush. He’d made his point about whose garden it really was.  Squirrels have nibbled on tomatoes, gnawed on corn and shredded lettuce. However, they are not the only demons in my piece of paradise.

Let’s talk birds. Last spring I planted broccoli and onion sets–several times. I’d tuck their sweet little roots in at dusk. By early morning their carcasses were laid out end to end. All they needed was a funeral dirge and some tiny caskets. Personally, I was blaming the squirrels. Although this modus operandi was more delicate, the destruction was equally devastating. I already knew what they were capable of. However, the true “perps” were exposed at dawn one day.

I was luxuriating with a steaming cup of dark roast on the deck. My feet were propped up on cushions and I was having one of those nature-bonding moments that can happen in late spring. While meditating on a sky that was as pink as if it had been smeared with strawberry jam, I was distracted by action in a raised bed. Dirt was flying like confetti on New Year’s Eve. It was a robin. I assumed it was looking for worms but this was one of those lasagna gardens with newspaper on the ground and layers of sterile organic goodies. There would be no worms.

“Do you hear me, Robin? There are no worms!”

It continued to toss seedlings. Perhaps it was only interested in an easier, softer way to dig, even though there could be no fruits for its labor.

I switched to beet and radish seeds and by the time they had stems and leaves the robin had lost interest, wizened up, or otherwise moved on. It was an excellent beet and radish year.

Spring warmed up into summer and the season became curiouser and curiouser. A Black Knight butterfly bush sprung up in the middle of my front garden lilies. Moonwalker and saw-toothed sunflowers popped up in front of the tomatoes and next to the sidewalk. Multi-branched they climbed to 16 feet. The stalks were as thick as a quarter and echoed the tale of Jack and the Bean stalk. Sturdy yellow blossoms moved with the sun as it crossed the summer sky. Two hardy tomato plants miraculously appeared in the middle of a tub of geraniums.  They just might blossom before Halloween.

I’m sure the squirrels and the birds were responsible in some way. Whether they were making deliberate amends or continuing to stake a personal claim in my garden, the result was magical. This tug of war with nature is partly why I garden. The interplay between my vision and nature’s “will” creates my personal paradise.

Carol is a sixty-four-and-a-half year old gardener, grandmother, poet and writer, goddess-centered ritual creator and social worker. She has been a member of Story Circle Network for three years and feels like she has been born again.