Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Breathing Lessons


My breath could tell a story all its own. When I am frightened, my breath is shallow, slow, stale. When I am excited, my breath is like a pant--quick, uneven, unpredictable. With calmness and relaxation comes a breath that is even and full, open and free. As each moment of each day unfolds, there is a breath that accompanies it. There is a breath that resists or a breath that embraces. And, inevitably, there is a lesson--a breathing lesson. These breaths reflect the lessons I learn in the garden.


One of the most marked events this year in the garden has been the alternate weather. Our weather has not followed its usual pattern with a cold, perhaps snowy, winter and a warmer, but still cool, spring. Instead, we have had an unseasonably warm winter. The ground never froze and hardened, and as spring arrived it was very warm with temperatures sometimes reaching the 90's.




This unpredictability and switch can change the breath in the most experienced of gardeners. I never really went into a panic with hyperventilating episodes, but I was very disappointed. My lament was that I felt robbed of a slow progression and was forced to speed up the process. My breath was in a holding pattern, tense and constricted as I scurried and hurried to get everything done before the heat arrived, the hot heat. It seemed as if it would arrive sooner than normal, and I needed to mulch all the beds, plant all the vegetables, transplant, prune, prepare, plan, act quickly. March sometimes seemed like May. April sometimes seemed like July. Normally, I would take the entire spring to complete these tasks, and I would be into summer before thinking about planting many of the warm weather crops. Things would be on a slower timetable.


Now that most of the work has been done, I can look back and see what lessons I have learned. These are lessons from this season and celebrations of those lessons.

I am joining Beth of PlantPostings for Garden Lessons Learned and Donna of Gardens Eye View for Seasonal Celebrations.


Acceptance


Accept what comes. And not only accept what comes but embrace it with joy and happiness. There is nothing I can do to change the weather. By taking the first step of accepting it, I can at least relax a bit and let my breath be full.


Nature Rules


Although I have some control over my garden, the true ruler is nature. Many times I think there are changes in weather patterns for a whole host of reasons, one being climate change, of course. However, when I look back on weather patterns in my lifetime and my mother's lifetime, I notice there have always been those years when the weather pattern was considerably different than in previous years. I must respect Mother Nature and the subtle and not-so-subtle changes that occur. The Celts honored the rhythms of nature and respected them, and so, too, must I. The long breath of nature is my guide.


Change is Good


There are some advantages to an early and warm spring. I was able to plant some vegetables early. I planted my tomatoes much earlier than I usually do, and I now have tomatoes. Bell peppers and cucumbers are fruiting. I had a crop of lettuce, Swiss chard, kale, and spinach throughout the winter and into the spring. These usually do not survive the winter. When I look at it with an eye of gratitude, my breath relaxes and stretches.


Besides, I would probably be bored if it were not for a good change now and then. <huge sigh>

~~~~~~~~~~

I have donated one of my photographs


to Photographers for Good Charity Print Sales, a site of donated photos for sale for a charitable purpose.

© copyright 2012 Michelle A. Potter

50 comments:

  1. A very powerful post, Michelle. Thanks so much for joining in with your Lessons Learned! I'm still working on my breathing, so I needed the reminder. Most of the time, I breathe too shallowly--hurrying and scurrying about. I have to remind myself to sit and pause and breathe deeply. Excellent lessons. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Beth. I, too, am learning to work with my breath.

      Delete
  2. The weather is taking some getting used to here in TX too. It was 97 here today. More like July weather than beginning of June. So many flowers are in early bloom. The other strange thing is so many fall bloomers are blooming.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't have fall bloomers blooming...yet. The last couple of weeks have been mild and cooler. I don't know what the rest of the year will bring...

      Delete
  3. Beautiful post! I'm learning to accept the weather too! ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Malar. It is an ongoing process.

      Delete
  4. This was such a meaningful post and one filled with much thought. The images are very beautiful and calming, yet breath taking, none the less. It is nice of you to donate an image for a worthy cause. I have a blog on my sidebar, Duck Cove Photography, that has a list of organizations that do something similar. You might was to check out Brian's site.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Donna. My breath is somewhat calmer now. Thank you for the link. I'll check it out.

      Delete
  5. Beautiful expressed! When it comes to Mother Nature there isn't much we can control except our attitude. The best answer is to embrace the change. Love the angles you shot your photos.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Karin. Mother Nature rules all the time.

      Delete
  6. Well said. Yes, we must accept what happens but then I think gardeners have had so much experience of this that they know just what to do. Beautiful photos to go along with your words.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Rose. I think you are right. We, as gardeners, have experience with Mother Nature.

      Delete
  7. Amazing photos, Michelle! As usual :)
    Nature teaches us a lot of lessons, we just need to keep our mind and body open.

    Hugs

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, Petro. It is an ongoing process.

      Delete
  8. That Mother Nature is in charge is a lesson so many gardeners must learn time and again. This unusual growing season serves as a worthy reminder that we, as gardeners, can only control some aspects of our plantings. Regardless, taking the time to absorb the sensual aspects of any garden is a great pleasure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I continue to learn that lesson over and over, Joene. Although it can be a challenge, it makes me feel closer to nature.

      Delete
  9. It seems everyone had to rush this spring to get ahead of the gardens. Every year is different and makes gardening a challenge. Your tomatoes look so good and you have fruit already. Wonderful. Mine are just now blooming.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am now getting a few ripe tomatoes. It is nice to get them so early compared to previous years.

      Delete
  10. Beautiful, serene photos. "Nature rules" is definitely a lesson we learn by gardening - whenever we get a bit arrogant, thinking we (the gardeners) can make things happen, nature steps in to remind us of her power. Gardening is so humbling, but in a good way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree that nature is humbling in a good way. I appreciate the lessons, too.

      Delete
  11. Your tomatoes are amazing Michelle, mine are barely in bloom...your grounds are magic?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, unikorna. I am happy to have tomatoes early.

      Delete
  12. Great advice Michelle. I have been frustrated with our weather as well and it's constant ups and downs this spring. Thanks for reminding me to just accept and enjoy it as it comes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have had some cooler weather in the last couple of weeks...so nice. I think as gardeners we come to accept the seasons as we expect them, but this year has been so different.

      Delete
  13. It is our very recent agrarian past that makes us so focused on the weather---more than almost any other country. I really thought it was funny this pring when everyone was telling me we were so far "behind" in rain when we had a 25" all time record surplus for 2011. Nature does not reset on January 1 but evidently the weather news people do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know we need to try to control or predict, but sometimes it is just the way it is.

      Delete
  14. Michelle, thank you for sharing these interesting lessons!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are very welcome, Nadezda. They have been a good challenge for me this year.

      Delete
  15. It is so hard for those of us who are used to controlling things to accept that we cannot control our gardens. Or at least we can't control them 100%. While most of the country is basking in unseasonably warm temperatures Seattle is having torrential rain, bringing it's own set of problems. Tomato plants are going black from cold, basil plants are very pale, my lettuce is shivering and refusing to grow and my sweet peas have rebelled - maybe adding just one INCH in the past month!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is strange how this weather has expressed itself this year across the country. I hope the rain lets up for you soon.

      Delete
  16. You really do have the most beautiful way of expressing things...we had a non-existent summer with lots of rain which meant lots of disappointment in the veggie patch - and after years of disappointment due to drought. I think gardeners are great observers, learners and adapters - we have to be!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, we must accept the way things are in the garden. It is so necessary.

      Delete
  17. Such a beautiful post, Michelle. When I feel anxious, I tell myself to "Just Breathe." It's amazing how some deep breaths can help to calm you and make the situation more bearable. Your advice to apply this to the garden, especially this year, is a wise one. I've been in a dither all spring trying to get everything done, but sometimes we miss the beauty of the moment, especially when it's as fleeting as many of them have been this year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do the same exercise, telling myself to 'just breathe.' It is very helpful. Each moment is beautiful, and I hope to learn from this year for the next.

      Delete
  18. Nature certainly does rule. Here in the UK we are currently 'enjoying' autumn gales and floods in early June. Who knows what the summer will bring.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I must say that it is interesting to see what the weather will bring as the year moves forward.

      Delete
  19. Great post with beautiful illustrations! Our weather was a bit crazy, too, but then it always is! I agree that acceptance can relieve stress and that change pushes us into new directions, which can be a good thing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a good thing. I always realize that after the experience.

      Delete
  20. and then there is the sharp intake of breath when the soul is lifted by the beauty the eyes ingest. As with your gorgeous images. Enjoyed this unusal and philosphocial post too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so kind. I am so glad you enjoyed it.

      Delete
  21. Great read and pictures that left me breathless.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Alistair, for you kind comment.

      Delete
  22. Wow. Just beautiful. Thanks for writing this. :-)

    Michael

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Michael. I appreciate your comment.

      Delete
  23. Michelle some beautiful close up photos, some of us living where we do live with the weather all the time, I've given up thinking I'll do that at such and such a time, I now do what I can when I can and the rest will survive or not, Frances

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I suppose I try to do that as well, however I don't do well working in the heat. Having said that, there are only so many things I can control.

      Delete
  24. Michelle as I was putting my post together and was reading back through your post, I realized the comment I left did not come through...I really loved your lessons and how we both are trying to breathe and take it as it comes...it is all we really can do...just amazing photos and what a great thing to donate a photo to such a worthy cause...thx for linking in!

    ReplyDelete
  25. I am glad you returned and commented. Thank you for your kind words.

    ReplyDelete

'I see trees of green, red roses, too
I see 'em bloom for me and for you
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world'
--What a Wonderful World

Thank you for visiting The Sage Butterfly blog. I enjoy reading your charming reflections very much. Have a great day!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
ondragstart="return false" onselectstart="return false"