Art of Surrender Redux: The Garden

One must embrace irony. There is a lot of it in life, after all. Consider the garden if you will. In an effort to control my food source, I found a place to live where I could (in theory) enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of my labor by having a garden.

Instead, it is a daily practice of surrender to a host of elements out of my control. My plants are gracious hosts to a wide variety of critters from nearly invisible to purring.

No book by the Dalai Lama or Eckhart Tolle will teach an essential lesson in letting go more than having a garden. Tending a garden requires relinquishing the foolish notion that you will reap a product at the end. Each morning, coffee in hand, I make my rounds to the plants like a nurse visiting her ICU patients, inspecting limbs, peering at their wounds, unleashing a few expletives (me, not the nurse most likely).

As a woman said to her husband who complained of flea beetles, “There’s a good way to get rid of the pests. Go to the grocery store and buy eggplant.”

Where’s the fun if you can’t suffer a little? Who learns anything if you can’t experience your hard work wither away one tiny bitefull at a time? The truly strong among us are strong, not for our victories but, for our losses. The truly wise among us are wise, not for the tomato we ate at the end but, for the garden path we walked.

Though a tomato would be nice.

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