I designated one corner of my backyard as my Grandma Garden in honor of my mom. This gives me an opportunity to continue to buy her presents for significant days like the anniversary of her birth. (I channel my dad when I need to do some DIY around the house.) The first thing that my boys and I bought for her was a Rose of Sharon because she loved flowering plants and we had all taken a trip to Ireland together the year that she died.
We have enjoyed watching the Rose of Sharon grow each year since, particularly since we wisely situated it to be seen from the family room and kitchen. Unfortunately Japanese beetles have also taken an interest in this bush and they can be devastating. I discovered that the remedy is a cup of soapy water, where the beetles meet their maker after I tip them in. (Another remedy is to apply granules to kill the grubs but this must be done early in the season and I don’t always have my head straight in time.)
My solution takes time and careful study because sometimes the beetles are deep in the flowers. At first I resented this additional task at the end of each packed day. But finally last summer, a particularly stressful one, I realized that this time was actually a gift. If I rush through my perusal, then I miss many beetles which can then complete their life cycle and create more beetles for the following year. But if I use the opportunity as a Zen meditation (another Japanese export, more welcome by far) then I get to deeply enjoy the form and individuality of each blossom. My breathing and mind slow and stress melts.
We are all being asked to do more with less these days as the world cycles through the current growing pains. Get it done and move on, get it done and move on, get it done and move on. This is our sound track, which doesn’t allow for reflection. And we all need a bit of reflection, a centering on something meaningful and greater than ourselves.
Nature is a great source of centering and reflection – I learned this from both of my parents, in different ways. I hope for you that there is some opportunity to center yourself on a regular basis.
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