“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” ~Mark Twain
I think I learned the true meaning of compassion in a recent encounter with a professed landscaper. He had come to buy our snowblower (which he did so we had that going for us which is nice). He met me coming in out of the garden in my muck boots and big floppy hat. He seemed a very nice person who told us he cut lawns, installed and pruned bushes and cleaned up landscapes. He had many commercial accounts, and ended with these words, “Boy does this garden need work.” This was mid-October and things had not been cut down.
Wow he said you still need to cut a lot down. I told him no I keep the plants up all winter for the wildlife. He had never heard of this so I gave him a few examples, but he still did not understand. So he went on with, “Well you have to replace your mulch and your front yard landscape is being overgrown.”
At this point, I felt myself getting a bit steamed. He could not see the garden. The mass of perennials that were in their waning time with seed heads to feed the birds. The leaves left as natural mulch. All he knew was that my yard (not my garden) was not your typical bunch of evergreen bushes with a few plants thrown in for interest. To him it was a mess.
I said nothing since he really was clueless, and had no idea he had insulted me. Why bother getting mad with someone who has no idea. He did not mean to insult me. He actually thought he could help me; that I needed his help and he was just the professional to do that. So instead of getting mad, I showed compassion. I took a deep breath, said it was nice to meet him, smiled and walked away back into my messy garden.
Definition of compassion: a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune.
Synonyms: humanity, kindheartedness, pity.
One other thing he said that I found rather sad was that most landscapers in the area don’t talk with one another. They are not friendly but more cutthroat because of trying to outdo each other to get business. I proudly informed him that gardeners are friendly. We talk, we share (see my post, Friend). We want to learn from each other. We give each other plants. He was most surprised.
I am sure you may have encountered someone who said something that wasn’t meant to be insulting but was. How did you react? One of my favorite encounters is when someone says, “You look nice today”. The implication is I usually look OK, mediocre or awful. Now I know that is not what they probably meant so I just shrug it off, and take it in the vain that I assume it was meant; a compliment. Again I smile and say thank you.
Why bother getting upset with folks and dwelling on the negative. I try not to take most things personally anymore. I read a wonderful affirmation a while back that I try to remember, “Everything that I experience from another human being is either love, or a call for love.” Very profound and a big shift in my paradigm when dealing with people. Whenever I feel angry, frustrated or exasperated with someone I remember this mantra which helps me practice compassion. I am still about 50% with this so I need lots more practice, but it has been helpful. Not to mention I feel better about myself and am more at peace.
Walk About the Garden
It is the beginning of the month and I am taking a walk about the garden and joining Carolyn@This Grandmother’s Garden for her Walk In Garden Challenge. And it is also time for First View with Town Mouse and Country Mouse.
This is how last week started. It was snowing so hard we had 2 feet in a few hours. It was a “white out” and visibility was diminished as you can see.
Fast forward to 2 days later after 50 degree temps, and the garden looked like this. Quite a difference in a couple of days. The skating rink that had been here before the snow has also retreated and very little is left. In fact the white you see in the back of the garden are ice puddles. My fellow NY gardening friend, Becky, reminded me about these puddles that have a layer of ice on top and very little liquid left beneath. As I discovered these ice puddles in my garden, I had a ball crunching them. The memories this evoked were overwhelming…thanks Becky!
The one robin we saw the day before the snow storm turned into about 50 that have returned to their spring/summer nesting area in and around my garden. So very unusual for the end of January, beginning of February. And I have to say that the look, smell and feel of the garden is one of spring approaching. It is a feeling we gardeners get…very hard to explain it.
The pond is still encased in a thin layer of ice at the edges with a deeper slushy ice in the middle. Not a puddle you want to try and crunch. Soon I hope it will be free and life will awake within.
To go along with the few snowdrops that are brave enough to bloom now, are the hellebores. They are sending up new shoots which will turn into flowers soon. I never see these flowers before March. The violet at the top of the post is from last year, but I have found lots of new violet foliage coming up all over. The blooms are not far behind. Well I expect this to be a strange February; just as strange as January’s weather and garden.
Gardens Eye Verse
It is the first Monday of the month and that means it is time for some poetry. With the crazy winter weather my thoughts drift from snowy woods to spring bulbs. All the signs point to an early spring. I recently came across this quote from my favorite poet…..
I have never started a poem yet whose end I knew. Writing a poem is discovering. ~Robert Frost
Like Frost I never know what I will create until my mind settles and the poem is done. When I write poetry, I usually find myself in a contemplative mood where a phrase or vision will come into my head. From there I start to put together the picture, the poem. It is as if my soul opens and out pours the words, the feelings into poetry. Some poems come easily, freely. Others are tied up a bit and need some unwinding. I hope you enjoy this months poems. And yes those are hyacinths already coming up in FEBRUARY!!!!
Retreating to Spring
As I reflect on the garden these days,
I find my mind retreating
to the spring colors
of bulbs popping up-
the subtle greens emerging
and dotting the brown wet soil.
Winter slips silently around me
Walking me to cold, crisp woods
To gaze upon the peaceful slumber
Suddenly exhilarated, restored in found solace.
I wanted to do something to celebrate my 100th post, my seed experiment this winter and what appears to be an early spring. What better way to celebrate than to give away some seeds; and right now I am giving away vegetable seeds. All you have to do is leave a comment and include your favorite vegetable to grow or eat. The contest will end this Sunday with the winner announced next Monday. All seed is packaged for 2011 and 2012. There will be one Grand Prize winner who will receive a bundle of veggie seeds:Beefsteak Tomato Radish Turnip Melon Asparagus Broccoli Cucumber Pumpkin Pea Sweet Pepper
And there will be six runner ups receiving a packet of Beefsteak Tomato seed.
This can only be open to those residing in the US. And to make sure I am compliant with full disclosure, I purchased the seed I am giving away.
Next Up on the Blog: My latest post for Beautiful Wildlife Garden is up, and I hope you join me as I talk about the Great Backyard Bird Count. Friday I will also have my February pick for my signature flower for Diana@Elephants Eye meme, and what I call Simply The Best. Next Monday will be GBBD and revelations from my white garden.
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