This is the time of year that finds me in the garden. Every morning, I am distracted from my march out the door by an inspection of flower beds. What has come up? What new thing is showing itself? What new beginning has announced itself? Max always has to yell from the car, “Mom…Mommmmm……Come….on…We are going to be late.” I am dreamy as I stumble to the car, unable to take my eyes off the soil. It is fascinating to me–this explosion of new life.
Yet, when it is time to work in my garden, I find that the majority of the work is about clearing. Removing. Pulling up weeds, tilling the soil, turning over the ground. Clearing the space so that something new and beautiful can grow. I spend so little time actually planting. No, most of my work is about picking up dead leaves. Picking up the sticks brought down by the rain. Pruning the azaleas and the roses. Cutting back. Cleaning out. Sweeping up. Creating space so something new can be born. Isn’t this really the work of a gardener?
There is a spot in my garden where I usually plant annuals. Impatients or pansies–something that will immediately add color. This year, for a variety of reasons I don’t understand, I decided not to do this. I bought a couple packs of seeds, checking only that the light would be OK. Without paying much attention, Max and I dumped them onto the freshly tilled soil. We raked over a bit more soil and waited as it rained.
This week our beloved housemate is leaving us. Its hard to believe it is so, but it is. It is an occasion of excitement for it marks a wonderful new beginning for her. Our home was a safe place of refuge when she needed it most. Our house was a transition. But now she has all that she needs to make it on her own–legal status, a job, resources, a community. The apartment half a mile down the street, up high on the top of the building, with the tiny kitchen and big windows, it is the right place for her to be now. It is the first home she will call her own. And this is a miracle. Something new is being born for her.
And I know that something new will be born for us too. My dear friend Kaiya tells me that the Universe abhors a vacuum. When space is opened up, something new will grow. And I am holding onto this truth fiercely. It is a great comfort.
As we transition from housemates to friends, there is an ache in this empty place in our heart’s house where she used to be with her lilting African voice and the smells of her yummy cooking, in the place where she used to look at me with eyes that really saw. And yet, I know that out of this emptiness something new will grow. Letting go makes me sad and if I am completely honest, the mystery of what will grow up in this place makes me a little uncomfortable. But it is a discomfort I will sit with. But I have long ago given up guessing. Whatever is next will surprise me, that is for sure.
For weeks now I have been churning on these thoughts, in the garden, with the moving boxes. I am feeling it in other places of my life too. Colleagues are moving on, our organization is transitioning, friendships that are dear to me are tranforming. I know that in my heart too something is giving way, releasing, letting go. I am letting so much go so something new and marvelous can be born. It is sad and scary and also full of wonder…
I am drawing on the lessons of my garden. If I clear the space, something beautiful can be born. There is a cycle to this life we live, a cycle of letting go of what blossomed and filled us last, clearing the space and waiting with an empty patch of soil.
I feel I am stepping into an empty field, freshly tilled. I am saying yes to whatever will grow here in this open space in my heart, in my life. Yes without knowing where it will take me. Yes without a plan. Yes without knowing what the next step will be.