I had intended to post a series about the bees. Somehow, recent events in Boston made such ramblings seem rather inane in the big scheme of things. It occurs to me that the American Dream has changed from owning your own home and a two-car garage to just being able to raise your children in peace – to allow them to experience the innocence and fun of childhood that many of us took for granted – to help them figure out for themselves what they are good at and to help them pursue their passion. We don’t need cars, garages, and chrome-plated toasters.
With increasing frequency we see these acts of terrorism – or even assaults from nature – tear apart our communities and families at a very personal, individual level. At the same time, we see people pull together and demonstrate that the human spirit is stronger than evil or any disaster that can be thrown at us.
With each of these accounts, I am reminded of how very privileged I am. I don’t live in a fancy home; I don’t have a lot of land; we don’t make a lot of money. And yet – we have everything we need; we have 5 kids, 6 grandkids, and everyone loves one another; we have plenty to eat, grow much of our own food, and have access to uncontaminated food, water, and air; we are able to support others in our community; we live in an incredibly beautiful area and can take time to explore and enjoy it.
True, we live in a relatively obscur region; we have eagles, whales, and a rainforest out our back door. Even so, it would seem that everyone should be able to find or create that place that keeps them grounded — a sanctuary where, even if the world seems to be imploding, they can get re-centered.
For me, this place is my garden. It is not just one place, but a series of places, and I am always creating more of them – a little spot where you can sit and enjoy the beauty around you, find calm, create, hide, or all or none of the above. Like the garden, these places are always changing, transforming with the seasons and with my life.
The willow room is one of these places. I planted these willows a couple of years ago, and they have already grown into something I could not have fully imagined. In late winter, I pruned and shaped their long stems, weaving them together to cross overhead and over and under one another on the sides to form strong columns. They take on a life of their own. It is an interesting analogy. Individually, they are supple. They bend with the forces that shape them. Together, however, they are strong – forever interlocked.
And so we are. We cannot – will not – allow events such as the Boston bombings or the Newtown killings or shootings in a movie theater in Colorado or any other number of atrocities – destroy who we are. Recognizing that people in other places in the world live with this terror every day, we refuse to let hate define us as a species.
My sincere condolences to those who have lost loved ones in recent acts of violence.
We are reminded to return to the garden, to that place of peace, to play the music we hear in our hearts, to focus on a positive force greater than ourselves. BE in your garden. Be Grounded. Nurture and Grow. Reach for the Sun. And for one another.
P.S. This particular willow variety is called “Harrison’s.” I originally purchased it from Steve at Dunbar Gardens in Mount Vernon, WA. They have an excellent selection of willows (and baskets!), and I highly recommend them.