Response: Being like a Bee

bees

The bees kept on coming.  Doing what bees do.  Being what bees be. They nestled into and alighted from the sun soaked blossoms, completely unaware that the Brussels sprouts so carefully seeded and tended in hoop covered rows from autumn, through winter into the accelerating spring warmth had technically failed.  Traces of sprouts had appeared, but none had matured.   All had withered away.

Never in 13 Ozark growing seasons have I met anyone who has successfully cultivated Brussels sprouts.  Too hot?  Too buggy?  Too rocky?   So many possible impediments.

Somehow untouched by this viewpoint, my avid gardening partner, Carol, planted seed for a veritable Brussels sprouts forest in her raised beds last fall.   It was with her healthy-leaved, flower-rich plants that the bees communed last Sunday, while we pulled up bittering lettuces, toughening kale, and seeding cilantro to make room for warm weather friends — tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash.

There was no question of letting the “failed” Brussels sprouts remain for the bees.

Indeed the only question that lingered was the question of our human “being” and our  human “doing” in the face of individual and shared 21st century challenges.   You know the list.

Our major religions all speak of Love.  Our heroic myths tell of strength, courage, devotion and daring.   In the presence of the bees (who seemed so sure and easy in their mission and their being), I wondered for myself and for us as a species, will I/we commune with and respond from the flower the Heart?   To what extent will I/we pollinate life with bravery, insight, resolve, and compassion?    I hope we will respond on par with the grace and confidence of bees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Response: Homegrown Headlines

black bass lakeThis morning, April 23rd, the day after the official Earth Day I unfurled the Arkansas Democrat Gazette to images of the Paris Agreement signing.   (Yes, I work in a technology store, but we still get an old fashioned newspaper for our customers to read while waiting. LOL).

While the Paris accord carries its own significance, what ignites my faith in human beings is creative local responses to the urgent need for more Earth loving.

My Facebook newsfeed overflows with both stark climate news and courageous homegrown, grassroots reactions to ecological threats.   I’ve considered keeping a list of these Heart-Full efforts, as a testament to the human spirit.  So far I’ve settled for remembering this expanding web of Earth-caring in my daily prayers and meditation.

This Earth Day week here in Eureka Springs, as the last of the Ozark redbud blossoms were fading, I was fortunate to encounter in person quite a few folks  who are passionately pursuing an array of climate conscious activities — everything from bee keeping, to free solar power consultations, to lobbying for energy policy changes, to planting native flowers, to organizing a community discussion of Pope Francis’ encyclical.

What about your Earth Day experiences?   What invited your attention, action or appreciation?

Of course, many Earth-honoring moments escape the headlines; being principled decisions initiated in the privacy of the Heart or the home or being actions undertaken in the unnoticed vicissitudes of everyday life or off the interest list of major media outlets.

Publicized or not, each Earth-caring  response matters.  Each in a sense, is its own actualized  “Agreement”.  A vibrant pact between Earth and the Human Heart.  A covenant so intrinsic to our human Being, that when remembered, it eliminates all need to remind ourselves that every day is to be lived as Earth Day.

 

 

 

Sound and Silence: Airport Meditations

LuggageI used to uphold airport meditation as a measure of accomplishment; a rite of passage so to speak in the quest to “be a good meditator” regardless of outer circumstances.    I pursued this goal off and on over a decade or so, sitting with equal vigor in the relative quiet of NW Arkansas’ XNA and the multi-linguistic clamor of New York’s JFK.

It wasn’t until February, 2012, however, that I first experienced a profoundly immersive airport meditation.   It happened in Terminal B (I believe) of Dallas Fort Worth’s International Airport (DFW).   Arizona-bound to see my father who was in the final days of his life, I settled into the crowded gate area and closed my eyes, seeking not some pre-defined success or self-affirmation but rather Love’s solace and radiant silence.   What else can one do when approaching a convergence of vulnerability and the profound need for courage, grace and strength?

I recalled that spontaneous DFW experience last weekend as I wandered through O’Hare International after an embracing weekend with family in Chicago.  Surrounded by routine boarding calls and urgent gate change announcements, I was reminded that the primary obstacle to hearing the Heart’s Song rises not so much from outer noise but from the inner clatter of scattering thoughts and emotions and the agendas they agitate.

I still practice airport meditation on occasion, although thankfully no longer compelled by the noisy desire for accomplishment.    The simple possibility of once again registering the sweet Note of our Togetherness is more than enough.

 

 

Sound and Silence: Amidst a wordy week

buckeye.jpg

The week has been full of necessary words – read, spoken, heard, written, thought.  Personal.  Professional.    And it’s only Tuesday.

More than ever silent interludes are claiming my gratitude and replenishing my equilibrium and passion for life.   I linger over teeth brushing.   Relish dishwashing’s contemplation.   Treat myself to meditation under the stars at night and on the exercise bike in the morning.

Slipping into silence reminds me of the spring buckeye poised to unfurl; both being ripe with potential and unfolding beauty.  Both of sacred design.  Both so enticing and pleasing during these busy days of spring.

What do you enjoy most about inner or outer silence?  Or both? And how do you cultivate silence in your life?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food: Yes, You can Feast on This Beauty

redbuds

I wait for them.  Yearn for them, all through winter’s grey.  And then one day, they appear.  A few paces in time behind the ever-brave forsythia, they infuse the still-leafless forest with extraordinary splashes of magenta.

A feast for the eye and the heart. And also, I’ve learned, an edible treat!

Cercis Canadensis, the Eastern Red Bud.

Light and tangy.  Buds and flowers.  Perfect for sprinkling a bit of extra magic on a lush Spring salad shared with friends.

I know folks whose Ozark wildcrafting wisdom expands far beyond Red Buds.  Their resourcefulness, sometimes cultivated across generations, stretches from poke to greens to mushrooms and more.   For them even everyday chickweed and dandelions easily translate into nutritious treasures.  How I admire this knowledgeable, respectful linking with the land and its bounty; this way of being in touch, in harmony, in place, and in the moment with the Earth’s vitality.

Foraging, of course, isn’t a realistic option or necessity for many of us.  But for most of us choosing foods and related rituals (preparation, eating, celebration) that boost and integrate our spiritual, psychological, relational and physical vitality is viable . . . . at least from time to time.

I would love to hear about your wildcrafting adventures and/or the personal foodways which vitalize your everyday life and being.

 

 

Food: Digesting a Garden Smorgasbord

lauritzen

Visiting a northern botanical garden in February with two toddlers in tow hints at limitation — in time, attention, flora variety and color.   Thus, my expectations were set just slightly higher than pavement level when our snuggly packed chevy sedan pulled into the nearly empty parking lot of  Omaha’s 100 acre Lauritzen Gardens located in the heart of the city’s riverfront hills.

My sister and brother-in-law, who frequent the gardens, had pre-chosen two kid-friendly destinations:  the lushly tropical, invitingly warm Marjorie K. Daugherty Conservatory and the windy bluffs, home to two of world’s largest retired locomotives.

The contrast was striking.

train

Organic vs Machine.   Life vs Death.

exotic

But both evoked awe.

big boyBoth had a story.  An appeal.   A part to play in the modern psyche:  the pull of the exotic, Nature’s enchantment,  power’s thrill, the rise and results of fossil fuel-based  “progress.”

My mind’s been digesting this experience for  2 weeks, ruminating on a smorgasbord of questions about Life’s directing influence and cycles,  creativity and choice, the power of desire, and the inherent human capacity to stand in the present, eyes perceiving, heart open, hands ready, feet on the ground.

hands

Which distilled down to this:  the urgent necessity of tending and feeding our togetherness.   Here.  On this small planet.  Now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food: A Taste of Modern Love on South 50th Street

Modern Love

Roasted Root and Maple Mustard Salad (photo from modernloveomaha.com)

Last weekend I drove north, traveling through rolling Missouri farmland and gradually climbing into the sun-drenched high plains, until finally crossing the Missouri River at Council Bluffs seven hours later to arrive in Omaha, Nebraska, for a visit with my youngest sister and her family.

This journey yielded an unexpected opportunity:  dinner at Modern Love, an all vegan restaurant.

Tucked into a cinder block building enclosed by a triangle of bustling thoroughfares, the non-descript eatery seems, at first glance, hard pressed to fulfill its promise of “swanky vegan comfort food.”   I had my doubts.

But step inside. The staff, the lighting, the aromas all emanate health.  Welcome. Vitality.  Quality.  Omaha, in its commercial revitalization, seems to excel in offering superb experiences in unlikely spaces.

I have eaten a vegan diet for twenty years or so.   To hold a menu where every  single item from robust appetizers to yummy desserts is a real possibility stands as a rare joy!   No need to inquire about the presence of milk, eggs, or meat.   No need to settle for romaine lettuce and a baked potato. Just let the stomach and the intuition decide.

I chose the Roasted Root and Maple Mustard Salad.  Bliss!

And yet beyond the food’s tantalizing texture, color and taste, the greatest benefit of dining at Modern Love, without a doubt, rested in my sister’s heart-full company and our shared conversation.

Indeed, in our technology-centric, disconnecting world, an essential part of modern love certainly exists in appreciating small moments with family and friends . . . hopefully over good food.  Regardless of one’s dietary preferences.  Whether on South 50th Street in Omaha, Nebraska, or in  locations far afield.