Since our most recent snOMG event/furlough began early last week, I have spent a fair amount of time camped out here at the dinner table, my peripheral vision primed for the fluttering of birds visiting the seed we’ve put on the back deck for them.  Chrome tabs open at nearly all times to whatbird.com and allaboutbirds.org, Chris and I have been working on identifying as many of them as we could.  This has been partly for his benefit (Scout electives, general knowledge), but also for my own.  I’m trying to learn to pay attention to what’s happening around me again.

I don’t know if this is even close to what the Buddha meant by “mindfulness”.  It seems like it is, maybe.  Gardening has this effect as well.  Loosening soil with my hands, as I am wont to do, pulling weeds, smoothing the friable dirt, planting tiny carrot and lettuce seeds, learning to identify the cotyledons when your seeds sprout- I wouldn’t call it a spiritual practice, and I’m certainly not going to claim to have gained any particular wisdom from it.  But it does bring out a pretty granular level of detail in what I’m doing, and I can lose myself in it.

And as Cousin Isobel says, “That’s something, isn’t it?”




  1. I definitely think gardening is a kind of mindfulness practice, in so far as I understand such things. For me, it really helps me let go of ‘finished’ or ‘perfect’ or ‘ideal.’ The garden is never ‘done,’ it just ‘is.’ I love the calm of that brain-quiet ‘right now.’


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