Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about impermanence.
May brought challenges for our family. Our 3 ½ year old son had to have a medical procedure. During the weeks of his recovery, we spent long days cooped up inside.
To make it easier to be home, we decided to create a garden. At first, we weren’t sure whether we could do it, since we’re not living in our own home. When we moved back to the bay area, we settled in at the family homestead, an in-law apartment in the house I was raised in. Knowing that we’re transient here, I’d held back from engaging too deeply with the outdoor space, not wanting to start anything that we wouldn’t be able to tend long term.
But many things lately have made me feel the transience of life. Tragic shootings in Orlando, South Carolina, so many other places… Also the medical challenges we’ve faced with my son. Our son is and has always been healthy, so none of the medical issues have been life threatening. However, he has had to have multiple medical procedures under general anesthesia. They are painful and difficult.
But as hard as the medical procedures themselves is the uncertainty. We never know when or whether we’ll be going back to the hospital. Each time it happens, we hope it will be the last.
But here’s the thing… We have this medical condition to remind us of transience. But it’s really just the same transience we all live with, to whatever extent we’re aware of it. It’s easy to take life and health for granted. But of course we never know when we wake up what’s going to happen in a day. I try to remember every day to cherish what is ours for a time. My little ones, in all their moods. Time spent with family and friends. The joy of singing, on my own, and with others.
As a parent, I strive to meet my children in a space of loving presence. I strive to meet myself there too. This moment truly is all we have. I want to put down roots here.
So now, we’re putting down some literal roots. Maybe that will help us remember!
Together, we planted seeds, succulents. We made a sitting area, a bed of mint and other herbs, even laid down a lawn for the children to play on. We were concerned about the water usage, but amazingly, we’ll be able to irrigate the whole thing with grey water. So it’s a win all around.
It’s amazing how good it feels, even just that small patch of green space so close to home. For however long we’re here.
Now that we’ve made space for this, who knows what other things we might be able to make space for? Each day, amongst the roots and shoots, I listen. Digging in the dirt, I listen. I listen for what else is waiting to begin.
Here’s another song. One for gardens, and gardening. If you have a little wooden flute, this is also a sweet song to pipe in the woods. Many thanks to my mentor, Carol Kelly, for teaching it to me.
And I’d love to hear from you! What spaces are you tending? What’s growing in your garden, these days? (Literally, or otherwise…)