The Daily Muse

A Garden Journal -- June 2001

June 13 - afternoon

The full intensity of yet another Texas summer is upon us. It feels as if it might be 100 degrees outside right now, even with a good watering early this morning, everything in the garden seems to be wilting. Despite the fact that some parts of East Texas received over three feet of rain last week, we were teased by only a trace, just three tenths of an inch. Right now I am caught between the desperate need to mulch everything- hunkering down for the summer, and the practicality of keeping our beds exposed so that we can put our irrigation system in (hopefully next week. )

One of the worst side effects of having so much of our soil still exposed to the elements is that I am having to fight off the weeds. I filled a grocery sack with weeds this morning. Believe me, it takes alot of weeds to fill a grocery sack! A good three or four inch layer of mulch will solve most of my water and weed problems so I am praying that we will have no more delays with our irrigation company. Weeding is one of the most humbling things that I can think of. It is a very good zen meditation exercise since it requires so much patience and attention to detail. Still, weeding when the temperature is soaring through the nineties it is a bit too humbling!

Sounding a much more positive note... our pond is scheduled to be installed next week! I can't wait to have that hole in the ground finished out. We decided on a compromise design, an informal pond inside a formal frame. I special ordered the trim stone last week- fourteen inch square, by four inch thick, cut limestone blocks. A small water fall will spill into a faux stream bed and then into the pond. It will certainly make the coming evenings more inviting to have the sound of water in our garden. I might just be able to convince myself that I live in a place where it occasionally rains!

June 19 - morning

I have already had a very busy morning- watering, treating our tomatoes for spider mites, and feeding the birds... (Not to mention calling work, doing the laundry, cleaning the dishes etc!)

Scott Smith, from Aquatic Features is in our back yard right now building our pond. As I made my rounds he and I fell into conversations that ranged from achieving the right environmental balance in a pond to balancing our lives. We talked about how difficult it is to stay "in the moment," not to allow our minds to race off to the next destination. You'd think it would be easy to stay centered, to pay attention to the task at hand. I have found, however, that simply being present is one of the hardest things to do. I do not know if this is a cultural phenomenon, that attention span challenged Americans are particularly prone to living in some wished for/worried about future, but it does seem epidemic. I am thankful that my garden so often calls me back into the present moment, making me stop and pay attention to the hummingbirds that visit our red yuccas, or taking the time to investigate the under side of a leaf that looks a little pale to see if the spider mites are throwing a party, or simply slowing down enough to marvel at the dozens of color patterns evident among the gloriosa daisies.

I hope that you too will find something that calls you into the present moment today in your garden, for that is where you'll find life greatest rewards.


When Banzan was walking through a market he overheard a conversation between a butcher and his customer.

"Give me the best piece of meat you have," said the customer.

"Everything in my shop is the best," replied the butcher. "You cannot find here any piece of meat that is not the best."

At these words Banzan became enlightened.

Everything Is Best - from the Zen Koan Site

June 30 - afternoon

We have gone through a small bit of gardening hell this past week- our backyard was ripped up so that we could finish installing our irrigation system. The details have been pretty gruesome, but so far, I think everything has survived. I can't wait to get the contractors out of my backyard so that I can clean up and finish our major summer tasks. I guess that not all garden paths are lined with roses! We certainly have discovered that this past week or two. Thank God for the blooms of the passionvine and the sound of our little waterfall- they have kept me going through this less than inspiring time.

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