It was a “massacree”, as Arlo Guthrie called it in his famous Thanksgiving Day talking blues song. This was a slaughter of the flowers in my tiny garden beneath one window. I heard this morning at breakfast that I was not the only one to have lost their plants. This doesn’t make me feel any better. Everybody’s gardening work was whipped down by an ill informed wielder of the weed whacker from the grounds staff. In my case, we are talking daisies and day lilies, quite common flowers, and considered weeds in some places. I chose them carefully from the plant sale precisely because they are hardy, and need little to no care. Their nature is to spread rampantly over the years and that was also my intent for their future.
To me, those plants represented hours of investment. I dreamed a small garden into a possibility by buying a few necessary tools and bringing over my hardy Swedish outdoor walker (Veloped) from Emilia’s house. This has large wheels designed to travel over grass and woodland paths. I purposefully strained my legs and back by getting the flower bed ready, transplanting the plants, watering them and keeping my eyes and heart on them many times a day. I got permission from the nurses to occasionally deactivate the alarm on a door leading outside that is meant to prevent wandering residents with memory issues from disappearing. It opens directly onto the outdoor cement patio where I store my Veloped and tools. It is only fifteen feet away, as the rollator rolls, from there to my patch of earth. I considered the subsequent stress on my body as “functional PT”. From this experiment, I learned that I would recover from each round of gardening in a couple of days. This is a positive new development in my reaction to inflammation.
The daisies were just starting to bloom: three, count them, three! were already open. I walked back across the hall from our breakfast eatery and my jaw literally dropped in shock to find them gone. I made fast tracks (for me) down the halls and round about outside to find the unwitting culprit and not in anger, but in sorrow, to let him know what he had inadvertently done. He was clearly ignorant of plants altogether to not have noticed how carefully spaced my babies were, with no other weeds around them. To him, he saw only juniper bushes and some random green stuff in between that had to go. He looked stricken as he heard me out. Back in my room, I saw few minutes later that the head of grounds was there with him and I spoke to her through my open window staring down at the now barren dirt.
She apologized for not instructing Mr. Weedwhacker better and said she would have the plants replaced next week. When I heard others in the apartments on the other end of this main building had sadly complained of similar destruction, I realized this young man had blundered his way through the morning. Well. Obviously, this is no terrible tragedy. It is merely the loss of my anticipated pleasures. I already had the satisfaction of a job well done, as the plants were clearly going to thrive in their relocation. I will enjoy their relatives when they arrive, and presumably the young man in question will have gained some knowledge, and/or, someone better equipped will take over weed whacking.
All spiritual practices warn of worldly attachment, which does not mean that we shouldn’t love our lives and all that we encounter. Rather, it is to remind us that nothing is permanent. I love the Buddhist saying, “The cup is already broken.” To fully live this concept means that we can choose to deeply invest our love and enjoyment of everything and everyone, right now. The objects of our love will not last. Nothing does. Above all, it is only love itself that endures. Because my garden was decimated on the anniversary eve of my life at Kendal, the incident momentarily triggered my far more serious loss of husband and home. By the afternoon, I managed to incorporate the whole experience and let it go. I wasted nothing in creating my small nursery- soon -to- bloom garden. We come and we go in our seasons. May we learn to passionately love them all in the time we are given.