Today I awakened at 7 am because it is too hot to mow the lawn at noon. I pushed the hand mower around my yard like a three year old would a Fisher-Price toy. I made patterns and swooped. When I saw some raggle taggle weed poking out from my giant purple Iris clump I would drop the handle and go over to pull the taunting weed out with a sudden jerk.
I drifted off to weed a neighbouring bed of peonies and daisies.
Then I was back to mowing. The oriental enamelled leaves of the new Japonica in the center of a patch of front yard are breath taking in color. If they were jewellery or the paint color of a convertible car they would be admired, stop people in their tracks, cause wonderment.
I walked behind the mower with its toy like noise. The grass smelled sweet releasing the odor of memories. I could hear my neighbours of 24 years talking together over the fence. My guests sat on the deck reading the books that I had placed on the shelf.
The tulips were here to explode into color the fireworks of celebration. Now their petals curl in. The petals have lost their color and curl into a fist before dropping to the ground. Their job is done once they had exclaimed, “Winter is dead. Winter is dead.’
As I walked the yard I saw the flat handed white of the daisies opening up. They are a busy, simple flower that has crept into my lawn and every bed they can reach.
“Good for you, daisies,” I encouraged them as I mowed.
There is something so deeply extraordinary about the acts that we repeat to the point that they become a ritual. Mowing the lawn is one. I first mowed a lawn when I was eight and it was with a push mower. Now I am 72 and every garden I have ever moved through comes back to me as I walked.
A transition of seasons, the changing birth and dying of species of flowers and plants, a rhythm of existence is not about anticipation. It is the farthest point possible from anticipation. Now becomes a discovery. And how I move through that which I have planted is about acceptance and excitement.
The columbine are gigantic this year. In previous years, they were closer to the earth and timid.
I plant, I weed, I attend to the repetition of taking care of what is around me. The repetition sows the seeds of delight.
And above all, it teaches me how to connect to the earth when I am working in the garden. It teaches me about intention, selection and persistency of practice.