Letters from the Garden: Permission to Be

Dear Sangha,

Last week, Laura and I were down working in the garden. She was weeding the spinach, I was spading the soil for a row of daikon, and both of us were throwing sticks for Milo and Molly. It was a cool day, and the air had that feeling like rain was coming. One of my favorite parts of living in this valley is being able to watch the storms sweep down from the north, slowly getting closer and closer. We could see dark clouds at the end of the valley with grey sheets of rain moving towards us, but where we were standing on the hill was still sunny with breaks of light coming through the clouds. We worked in silence as the storm crawled closer, both of us thinking “just a little bit longer,” until all of a sudden it dropped ten degrees and the wind picked up. We looked at each other and knew that was it! Holding our hats in the blowing storm, we packed up and scurried back to the house, laughing as the first fat raindrops started to fall around us.

Working outside teaches me something every day—how fast the grass grows, what kind of caterpillars eat kale, when the hummingbirds come back, how the root systems of vines grow, what good soil feels and smells like. It’s teaching me the joy of getting soaked in a thunderstorm, throwing open my arms to the rain. Or the patience of accepting poison ivy and ticks as not separate from the delight of apple blossoms. All of it is right, and I have complete permission to show up exactly as I am. Slowly, I am learning to trust this.

The orchard in full bloom

I am working on the garden, but the garden is also working on me. The baby seedlings are telling me how to take care of them; can I listen? The soil and the trees and the worms are communicating exactly what they need, if only I know how to understand. I am also asking them for something when I’m planting seedlings, when I’m digging weeds, when I lay down to rest and remember the sky.

Today for lunch we ate the first garden salad of the year, grown in the rocky soil of these mountains and watered by the thunderstorms. Perfectly holy; perfectly ordinary. Inseparable from everything.

First parsley
Baby kale and spinach. Planting asparagus roots.
A perfect fence

Lots of love,
Sansei


Letters from the Garden: Work Week, April 17, 2021

Letters from the Garden: Planting Good Seeds, April 3, 2021

Letters from the Garden: Dharma Blossoms, March 20, 2021

Letters from the Garden: The First Birdsong, March 6, 2021