Monday, September 28, 2009

Blown About by the Wind

Well, autumn has ripped straight through the fairly warm, dry air we had been having here in Minnesota. Yesterday afternoon, rain arrived, wind gusts over 40 mph arrived, and temperatures dropped a good 25 degrees in a matter of a few hours. The wind gusts continued today, and the weather forecast called for overnight lows only a few degrees above freezing. How things can change quickly.

Potting the tender perennial herbs in my garden to take into the house this evening, I noticed how I was rushing. In fact, like most of the day, a low grade irritation was eating at me, producing stories filled with little, nasty comments in them about how things weren't moving fast enough, or weren't going right. Isn't it funny how the mind can mirror the weather! Here I am bending over a little pot, trying to fit a bulging lemon balm plant into it, thinking "Damn thing is too big; now my hands are covered with dirt too." I love gardening; I even enjoy having soil covered hands, a very obvious connection to the planet. And yet, this prosperous lemon balm plant and the soil attached to it meant nothing to me but another problem I had to solve quickly. Why quickly? No reason at all. I didn't need to hurry. There was plenty of time to survey the garden, locate what needed to come in, and re-pot it before the sun went down. But I didn't want to deal with it. I had just finished work, had missed the connecting bus, had to sew a little tear in my backpack, and get over to my mother's place, where the garden is. It sounds like a lot, but it really wasn't. I just made it feel like a lot by buying into the "not having enough time" story, and letting my mind be blown about by the wind.

As they usually do, the plants taught me something. Looking at the neighboring lemon balm, which was even larger, I realized it was time to slow down. I took a few breaths, and then put the blade of the shovel in and carved around what had become a little bush over the past four months. I'm always amazed how quickly lemon balm grows, and how just a few dashes of the hand through the middle of the plant gives off a wonderfully strong lemon scent. Of course, it probably shouldn't be much of a
surprise that lemon balm is a calming herb, a perfect thing to make tea with after a long, stressful day. I snipped a few leaves off, and savored their flavor as I plunked the rest of the plant into a large bucket. Then it was on to the Thai pepper, lemongrass, and sage plants down the row.

They're now tucked safely on the front porch. A few might not make it because that's what seems to happen every year. The rest are settling into their new, temporary homes. Isn't this just like our own lives? - seemingly grounded, but really just a series of transplantings, each one an attempt to set down the roots that have, in the vast scheme of things, always been there.

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