September 11


Today's quotation:

A garden that never died eventually would weary.  Robbed of springtime, unacquainted with the extraordinary perfume that rises from the soil after itís had its rest, the garden that winter doesnít visit is a dull place.  The return every spring of earthís first freshness would never be kept if not for the frosts and rot and ripe deaths of fall.  So when I go out from the garden for the last time in autumn, I leave the gate open behind me.

Michael Pollan

Today's Meditation:

It's kind of hard sometimes to think of death as such a necessary part of growth and life.  We grow up to see death as something very negative, as a loss, so we tend not to see the positive aspects of the cycles of passing on and leaving space for the next generation.  Gardeners understand very well the importance of death in the overall processes that they deal with all the time.  They see the importance of letting soil rest throughout the winter, letting it replenish the nutrients that keep it vibrant and able to sustain life.

There's a large field near our house where they plant corn, but only every other year.  On the off years they allow the field to grow naturally, and whatever wants to grow there, does.  At the end of the summer, they plow all this growth under, and the next year they plant corn once more.  Because they've added all the new nutrients to the soil in the form of the other plants, the corn does very well.  Some people would say that they lose a harvest every other year, but others would recognize that the field is much healthier because it's not being drained of its vitality by being planted each year.

Do we need to be doing something important all the time?  Do we always need to be accomplishing something?  I think not.  I think we're like the fields and the gardens-- we need our rest if we're to continue to work at our best.  Just like flowers, we can share our beauty more strongly if we've rested ourselves for a while, and then other people benefit from our taking care of ourselves.  But we can't depend on others to see our need for rest, so we need to be sure that we're monitoring ourselves carefully so that we can replenish our reserves when they need it.

Questions to consider:

In what ways do you replenish yourself?  How could you do so more?

Do you know anyone who doesn't give themselves the rest they need?   What are those people's lives like?

What are some of the effects of not giving ourselves enough rest?

For further thought:

We find by losing.  We hold fast by letting go.  We become something new by ceasing to be something old.  This seems to be close to the heart of that mystery.  I know no more now than I ever did about the far side of death as the last letting-go of all, but now I know that I do not need to know, and that I do not need to be afraid of not knowing.  God knows.  That is all that matters.

Frederick Buechner

more thoughts and ideas on the seasons of life



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