I’ve been doing a lot of yard work in Guatemala…which I guess is pretty much a given when you’re living in a tropical, jungle climate. It is incredible how quickly Mother Nature takes over here!
In late April, my friend who oversaw the building of the house started clearing all of the undergrowth from my land. It was so thick you couldn’t easily walk the property, and I knew that the underbrush could be a good hiding place for snakes. (For those of you who don’t know, I’m not a big fan of snakes. I can handle spiders, bugs, scorpions, lizards, etc., but not snakes.) It took him and then his son (the one I went on the field trip with) almost 6 weeks to do this because they were pulling stuff out by the roots. Mind you, my lot is only half an acre, so that gives you an idea of how much clearing needed to be done.
Unfortunately, June was a busy month for me. I flew to Boston for a family wedding and then later in the month to San Francisco for some personal commitments…which meant that my beautifully cleared yard began to quickly fill in again with new underbrush. By the end of the month, the areas that had just been dirt were covered with new growth. So I hired the son of my friend again to do more clearing. He came every morning before school and then all day Saturday for three weeks to work in the yard. Two weeks ago we spent the entire day raking the yard and hauled 6 pickup truck loads of brush, leaves, etc. to the dump.
Last Saturday I started planting grass seed. I’m doing it by hand, for two reasons: first, even with all the clearing there are still a lot of roots and rocks; and second, it is important to me to connect to this little piece of earth that I’ve bought. The ground is filled with pieces of Mayan ceramics – most just small shards – and each time I find one it reminds me that many, many other people have lived on this land. As a shaman, I wanted to connect with them and their history as well…and if I used a machine to do the preparation and planting work I wouldn’t be able to.
I’ve been planting for five mornings now and have seeded maybe half of the area that I want to plant grass on. It’s hard, hot, dirty work but I’m really enjoying it. It’s a chance for me to slow down a little and just be with nature. Jaguar, my cat, is usually right near me and has fun playing the in the dirt that I’m turning over and racing up the many trees on the land.
This morning when I went out to water the grass seeds, I saw that the seeds from five days ago have begun to sprout. It’s not the first time that I’ve grown things from seed. My grandmother was a farmer in Connecticut and I remember having my own little vegetable garden when I was seven with radishes, green beens and cucumbers. I’ve always had vegetable and flower gardens when I could.
And yet, the miracle of it all never stops to amaze me. I looked out at these tiny, bright green grass shoots and was just so excited and happy that, once again, nature and the universe came together to grow something.
Miracles are around us everyday. Often, we only look for the “big” ones – ones that find someone cured of cancer, or winning the lottery. But there are so many others that we overlook, such as the miracle of a seed sprouting or of a bird or airplane flying or that somehow, even when you ignore it, your body keeps on functioning and working to heal itself.
I challenge you to look for everyday miracles. Feel free to post them below.
so glad you have a meditative practice of spreading grass seeds, my friend. It’s one of the best ways to slow down, take note of the tiny, important life around us. And all the grass, the trees, shrubs, even the rocks, need us to notice and fall in love with them. It is their private yearning for us…