The Garden

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The Garden

Post by Hermit »

I don't know if this is the right place to start this thread, but I've started writing and stopped, deleted, started again a few times over the last few days.

I'm going to put down here what I've been journaling over the past year while gardening, a kind of reflection and meditation on life in the garden, and the gardener. In some ways, a garden is the most sacred space a person can enter or exist in because, as I came to find out, you don't tend it as much as you become part of it. It was in that tending that I asked some of the hardest questions of myself, my experiences, my perceptions, and my beliefs. There are still echoes of that floating around today so I don't think it's much of a coincidence that I find myself back in a forum setting where I can write and find feedback amongst kindred spirits.

One thing I noticed about my writing (at, but not exclusively in, the avalon forum), was that there was a certain convoluted attempt at mysticism, trying to impress or maybe express words and ideas, or experiences, that either existed far from the ability to be explained...or maybe I just wasn't ready to explain them because I didn't fully understand what it was I was/had experienced. At any rate, I'm appreciative for the ability to put these thoughts here, and to get your feedback as part of the learning curve.
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Re: The Garden

Post by Hermit »

Short Meadow

-sometime in early January of 2015-

A garden is only as good as the gardener's self awareness. If a gardener cannot intimately know himself, then he cannot enter the garden complete and free of distraction. He cannot see clearly to the needs of his plants, the proper proportions and placements of elements in the garden, or the needs of those plants. A garden and a gardener have a special (read spiritual, trick of my eyes, but spiritual probably fits better) that is different from one who enters a garden to experience it. In this way, the garden becomes the means by which a gardener knows himself. The magic is that the process occurs with or without his conscious awareness of this. So in the planning of my own garden I find myself able to buy seed, sketch plans, but not able to fully see what it is that this garden, which has been the expression of a 100 year old great grandmother up until now. It was hers for the past 40 odd years, will still be in many ways. And so it should be: she probably knows herself better than I do!

(Some context. The garden is in the back yard of a small house build in the late 1960's in the north-east end of the city I live in. My friend's grandmother at 100 years of age decided it was time to move into a nursing home, and her grandson, my friend, offered to fix up and sell the house to my brother and I. Luckily, I got access to the garden and the house before the repairs began. The house is still being renovated and remodelled. It's going to be an amazing house, small, but with all the cool things my brother and I hoped for: a home theatre in the basement, and a soaker tub big enough for someone six foot four tall. When I began journaling and blogging, the garden was still under snow and I didn't have any real idea of what it was going to be like except from some snapshots I got from google-earth street view.)
Last edited by Hermit on Sat Jan 02, 2016 9:04 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Garden

Post by Hermit »

Sometimes in journaling, you find things that don't make sense, things that you wrote down and forgot about. This entry is one of them and it details some of the experiences that happen to me when I'm taken. To be honest, much of it doesn't make sense and the more or the harder I think about it, the further away from the truth I really think I'm getting. This is from late January, 2015.

I walked through a hallway of sorts, my brother was ahead of me, the hall was filled with other people walking as well. We were noticed. Every few feet there would be a section of bars that we would have to crawl through; it looked like very few people actually crawled through the bars rather than walking around them, and those that didn't go through the bars looked at those of us who did curiously, wondering why we would choose to crawl through bars rather than simply walk around them.

At one point I was stopped or stopped myself and became aware of what was going on. Then a narrative was introduced into the experience. I know this sounds a bit odd, and I'm trying to think of a way of explaining this. Think of how you feel when you are having a very vivid, very realistic dream in which you are experiencing the dream fully but are unaware that you are dreaming. Think about how it would feel if someone consciously changed the flow of your dream from outside of your mind, outside of your space, to either convey a message or a program of some kind. I can't say at this point which it is, or was. But that's how it feels.

This is the image, the narrative, that was introduced. I had to re-read it a few times because it feels strange even now. I don't actually remember writing this.

A man is tied to a diving board, gagged. He has been drugged but the collective people who live in the house the the pool belongs to. As the narrative develops I discover that this group of men of varying ages capture and "feeds" (?--I put a question mark here because I'm not sure what feeds means) on people. I take on the role of a captive man. I can actively change their minds by participating and conning them into believing that I want to be a part of what they are.

I befriend and try to love this tall thin blond male who seems not so bright. In many ways he reminds me of an ex I had, and in many ways it is not the ex I had. It's like the image has been partially overplayed over this tall blond guy to make the image fit into the narrative better.

The group begins to doubt my sincerity and questions my real desire to be one of them. I end up dressed in robes of the Mass, a priest, incensing a high alter before saying Mass. The alter is surrounded by darkness, pitch black darkness. As I hold up the chalice, a piece of bread descends from 'heaven' and a voice says "Make sure that at the end there is only one piece of bread left. There has a to be one piece left."

From the darkness a muscular, masculine, demonic presence comes forward. The being, the presence, was holding an infant in it's arms. the infant was over sized, more the size of an 8 or a 9 year old. I did as the voice asked me and pulled out pieces of the host to give to them, but the host turned to silver in my hands. They wouldn't leave me, they wouldn't stop taunting me, but I was not afraid.

Shift back to the strange house. The group of men are now even more confused and afraid because they have a dissenter who is also a priest among them. They were panicked, afraid, and unable to approach or do anything to me. In the group was a wise man with no wisdom, a strong man with no job but to defend the house which was otherwise empty, devoid of humanity. There was the tall blond that I was 'involved' with, the two strong demonic type men who approached me at the altar, and the infant.

When I first awoke, I assumed that these were all demonic presences that weren't able to figure out what to do with me, like something in me had changed and they were unable to taunt me, or use me. Now that I have had time to consider the dream, I think that these are all part of my own being that I, as the gardener, must now enter in and either pull or dig up, nurture, or transplant.

Even the shadows, the unknown watcher is a part of me. I was not sure at first who they were, or if in my life one/some were greater than others. I know I can't hide them in darkness anymore. I must bring all of them together somehow and create a balance by being the shadow watching, taking notes, and choosing my actions with care.

The real difficulty for me in coming to terms with these experiences is that they feel mostly like dream, but somehow aren't completely like dreams. There is an added packet of experience that I can't fully assimilate and I'm not entire sure that I'm supposed to either. Much of this is getting to know the terrain so to speak, as the snow melts. At about the last paragraph I remembered writing this experience in the journal, but not the dream itself. There are shadows of it still here in my mind, and I recognize recurring elements that happen in my dreams even now. If this is an abduction scenario, they are subtle and very good at what they do. If it's a dream, I have much more to learn about who I am. And that is a wonderful possibility as well!
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Re: The Garden

Post by Hermit »

Stepping to the side, I need to express some grief, anger, and disappointment in a healthy way. Namely, I want to share and move forward.

There is a difficult moment everyone has and if not has probably will experience in standing up and saying that something is wrong, especially when the bulk of the people around you seem to think that what is going on is not only right, but on a deeper level know what they are doing is wrong. Yesterday I stood up and did that. I said my piece, and I said what I had to say to everyone involved. At this point, the people who were doing wrong are now frustrated and angry, lashing out with passive aggression.

To borrow a good friend's analogy, I'm dealing with zombies. They are at the garden gate and I have a choice to make. I have already opened the gate a crack and they have come in at my own invitation. I'm saying I'm owning responsibility for initiating what transpired between myself and those who are now lashing out at me.

Being an adult means knowing what you're doing may provoke a response you might be afraid of, especially if you know what you're doing is the right thing. I accept that I've upset a routine. Regardless, I close the garden gate to them now. You cannot effect my peace, my space, unless I let you in.

Let me be blunt.

You are not welcome in my serenity. I wish these people all the best, good health, and success in everything they do. I also know that the universe in it's Supreme Wisdom will meter out justice in It's own way.

Having said that, I let go and I move on. This has not killed me. I have learned from it. I am not wounded by my actions, but strengthened knowing that I have acted in accordance with my principles. The problem is my past. But I don't live there anymore. I'm moving forward. You (being the individuals in question) should too.

Happy Saturday everyone. :)
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Re: The Garden

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So something amazing happened. Around the first week in February I made a decision to simply accept that I was experiencing things while I slept that I could not explain, that did not fall into any category that made sense to me or anyone else, that I wasn't finding any real help or assistance in dealing with it, and that the less I thought/worried about it the less dramatic it felt, the less impact it actually had on my life, and the more I was able to go on and operate as a normal human being. Which isn't to say that I don't find myself from time to time thinking about these experiences, or realizing that when my dog wakes me up in the morning and smells me in a certain way there's a new bump somewhere, or there's a bump missing. I focused instead on something else, this garden that I was building, becoming a part of, that at this stage of winter was still potentiality.

I wrote on February 9th 2015:

I'm thinking about my love affair with hollyhocks, looking at a small seed pouch on my desk that I collected from a plant that grew in my front garden amid the spoil of catnip and poor sand, and thinking about how and where to grow them in the new garden. The old garden is actually a couple of plots that are about 2 feet by 8-12 feet. The complex I live in was at one time co-operative housing, and the hollyhocks that grew here are now limited to my two plots. The plants in front of my unit are at least 60 years old, these are the plants that I collected the seeds from. Something that I am now giving serious thought to but hesitate over is to till over the entire yard and begin again from scratch, less removing of trees. This at once, although more labour intensive would provide the blank canvas that in many ways would be easier to contend with. I hesitate to do this however because a portion of my self says that to a certain degree in order to stay within the principles of my philosophy of design, I have to work within the existing space with that which the existing space provides, not with the limits and the perks.

So in defining what my philosophy is on this, because the great Socrates himself knew the importance of this matter of defining, I must consider both, or each, the garden alone, the gardener alone, the garden's relationship to the gardener, the gardener's relationship to the garden, and how each relates to the world outside of this relationship.

All of this because of some blasted hollyhock seeds.

First, the garden alone. How can it be a garden if not tended by one with a design, or an end in mind? My first instinct is to turn my mind to the first gardener, the great Gardener who planted the first seeds from thoughts. And to be sure, when I begin to turn the soil, please God, all of my acts therein will be acts of mindful prayer. But can there be a garden without a physical being, a man, a woman, a child, an intent of physical manifestations that, by the act of digging, cultivating, adding nutrient, pruning, removing, breaking and re-planting, composting, all of the action of a hand guided by a mind with a vision, and idea?

When I realized that the front garden in my current location would not grow good tomatoes and the herbs that did grow were things like catnip and mint, and that the hollyhocks thrived, I let the hollyhocks take over rather than plant vegetables. Decades before, someone seeded them all over the complex and they thrived for decades. A garden then cannot exist outside of the relationship to the plants, the space it occupies, the space it creates, and the being who in turn exists as a gardener because of the space, or rather, is a gardener because the space permits it to be so.

It must be harmonious if it is to be productive, the same to be said about the gardener himself. For a gardener who is not at least somewhat aware of himself cannot create in or by means of harmony. Once he begins, the relationship between gardener and garden transforms all. Even the most difficult of tasks, the most painful of jobs to the body and the soul, when looked at in the context of a completed labour done well will show beauty and cohesion. If this is not the case, the garden is not at peace because the maker, the gardener, is likewise not at peace. So I must work with the yard and let the yard work me.
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Re: The Garden

Post by Hermit »

Pausing again.

I still, even now, find it strange to feel a sense of foreboding or guilt for doing the right thing. There's another thread right now about subconscious archetypes, and I'm wondering what this anchor is that sits point down in the pit of my stomach.

I also wonder just how sincere this community really is. And by community, I'm referring to the greater 'alt' community. My own experience in the LGBT community taught me that when you participate to the fullest, there's a kind of watch you back pay back that happens. But everyone there wanted something, or wanted to be wanted, or needed something and wasn't aware of how to go about getting it but desperately knowing they needed. The needing was more important than the acquiring because once acquired, whatever it was that was acquired was tossed like garbage.

I'm a hermit, if not a recluse. I don't socialize much or often, spend most of my time with one or two people, my dog, my plants, my books, prayer and reflection. I'm currently going through a work by St. Anselm of Canterbury, the famous work that introduced the idea of the ontological argument for the existence of God (one of my favourites). In it, he speaks about how God is both knowable and yet unknowable. Everywhere, and yet nowhere. That in the seeking of the face of God, he has realized that at once he can see It as a bright light, but because it is so bright he cannot see clearly to know that the face of God is in fact present. I think it's leading to the idea of faith, built upon an inner knowing. An inner awareness.

I must admit, as of late I have felt an ebbing and flowing of loneliness. Around me, people pair up and seem for all intent and purpose to be happy, and yet I remain alone, by choice (conscious, and unconscious) and flitter about waiting for the spring of a romance. And yet, when I look at the bulk of the men that I know, they are not really men. They masquerade, play at it like a boy trying to measure up to Ayn Rand's definition. I was asked out for dinner last night by someone whom I'd been talking with for quite a while, only to discover he was in an open relationship with another guy I've known (read 'slept with'), and was overcome by this sick, sticky, blackness. I stood up to the guy, told him that in my book open relationships were something I couldn't understand, asked him why he was settling. He told me in his youth he felt monogamy was achievable, but was taking a more mature stance on it now. I told him he was full of sh!t. That ended the conversation.

The last 48 hours have been these kinds of tests, and I feel weakened. I know that I can pass through it, pass through the difficulty, but I find myself in that subconscious archetype of the child, afraid that his grandparents will drive away again, leaving him behind, only to discover they knew he was running behind the car the entire time, only to realize the man who had married his grandmother intentionally drove away because he was a bitter human being.

I watch as my own friends are tested, primarily by themselves, watch as I test my own self, push my own limits of darkness and light, and ask myself: Are we really onto something here, or are we just pretending, play acting? When I think about everything that was covered and discussed over at Avalon, I wonder (really wonder) just how real any of it was, any of it is. I said to a friend today, who was talking about a recent whistle blower who'd given their story a few months back. I told him I wanted to believe what he was saying, although the reality was that given the nature of the man's story, and given that any man, any woman, could come up with the same story and have the same credibility or lack thereof, I couldn't think of it as anything but fiction. Then the others, then my own.

What is the fairy tale we are creating? Who are the principle characters, and how to they reflect as aspects of our own personality at different points, different challenges?

Case in point. My garden is surrounded by 20 foot lilac trees that are at least 50-60 years old. I knew that these trees were there, and knew that the back yard would be full of lilac blossoms. To me, spring hasn't arrived until you shove your nose into a lilac and inhale deeply. It is one of God's secret masterpieces that must be enjoyed. So when my back yard filled with very light blue, almost powder pastel white lilacs, I shoved my nose in, took a deep breath in, and smelt almost nothing at all. The trees in the front, deep purple, on the other hand, deeply fragrant and longer lasting. I spent weeks, months, expecting the lilacs to be one way only to discover they were a completely different way. And here I am, thinking the nature of the human being in our community, read the 'alt community' is going to be one way, and in reality it's filled with all kinds of maladjusted, hurting people who are just trying to make sense of their lives. Just like the rest of us.

So I suppose I'm finding it comforting to have a place that is an echo, if not a stronger scented lilac than Avalon, to return to. I have watched my friends and acquaintances test themselves by banging their heads against walls, and I feel pain for them. I've watched as I've involved myself in issue and conflict that has no real value, no real grounds, and really is just a waste of time.

But then again: the gardener's best friend in spring is a good solid load of manure aged just right.
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Re: The Garden

Post by Christine »

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May the tears that spill from my eyes be the raindrops for you lilac trees. Each tree unique, each branch a reach for the sky. So much beauty in your writing. Humbled and so glad you are here.
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Re: The Garden

Post by Hermit »

I have a few minutes before I go into work.

It's the time when really jump the gun gardeners order seeds, so I've placed a couple of requests for seed catalogues. Last year, a friend down state-side shipped up a massive envelope full of seeds. Most of them I planted, the okra was the first time I'd seen or experienced. Okra has the most beautiful flower, unlike anything I've seen. Picture a butter-ice-cream coloured with a deep purple blueberry drip in the centre. I'm moving my vegetables into the perennial beds so there will be carrots with day lilies, turnips with tulips and daffodils; I'm curious to see what over 200 bulbs look like in the early months of spring.

The trouble with seeds is sometimes they don't germinate the way you'd count on. Take in point a batch of poppies I planted in a mostly sunny part of the garden, and another batch I planted among the hollyhocks and early tall perennials. The batch in the sunny part didn't germinate at all, the batch in the established perennial bed not only came up, but a variety with a white centre instead of the usual black showed up among them. Tied off the stems, collected the seeds, and will try to get a bed of the red-and-white's this summer.

This week, I've watched people around me (and my own self) cope with stress calmly and by melting down. A few years ago I found myself in a total state of emotional collapse, something which the study of philosophy seemed to get me out of, and to date, has kept me out of. But I notice those around me, those who work certain paths, who have at the drop of a hat stormed off in full temper tantrum, ran to different places, mostly because in one way or another they got caught with their pants down for doing something "not so nice". This makes me wonder about a thing that took me a very long time to learn, and something which in some aspects I continue to repeat even having learned that proceeding on the lines I'm going to describe end up in the same results.

If I plant a certain seed, or in a certain area, of the new garden, and I watch and wait until fall, I'll see with pretty good certainty how that garden is going to perform. The sad reality is I have 3 40-50 foot spruce trees on the west side of my patch that not only obscure the sun, but are slowly acidifying the soil. I planted in rows running east west, as well as north south. The north south rows closer to the east side did fairly well, while the west east rows did not so bad towards the east side but fairly poor towards the back. I may have to have the spruces removed and new soil brought in. No small undertaking.

The point is, if I continue to plant in that soil the same way this coming year, expecting different results, and claiming to be an expert in my field, just how sad will I be entitled to be when the crop doesn't turn out?

I won't be entitled at all. Because my formula is not grounded on solid facts, only on my desires which may (and in fact do) run contrary.

So microcosmically, this means moving the vegetables out into the open lawn which is being transformed into a series of formal beds, using well aged compost and removing the clay soil. The added benefit of the lily pond in the centre will provided humidity and an easy access to water that I can use (already fertilized with fish waste) on the plants around the bed. The old vegetable garden can be re-planted with shade/acid loving perennials, or maybe a stone deck/patio.

In the macro, this means that although I'd like certain things, certain people, to behave in certain ways, I have no way or means to control their behaviour. If something is going to take me and my genetic material continually without my consent or control, I can fight it or I can live with it. I have to even entertain that it is an illusion of my mind, that in reality it is a symptom of an unresolved malady in my past, or an attempt of my subconscious to get some needed attention (or not so needed).

Likewise, a plant that is placed in direct sunlight that needs extra light will wilt. I've watched in the last few days as plants whom have until recently received mild exposure from a south-facing window made the choice to stand in full sun, only to have the chemistry within and the environment without change. Now there is anger, frustration, confusion. Why? Because the method is selfish. Unproductive. Growth will occur in these conditions, but it will not be optimal, and the gardener will not learn or be in harmony with the growing around him.

One knows when one is in harmony when the world flows around one, when choices and decisions are made with ease and results are plentiful, and one is not only receiving a bounty, but contributing and being the bounty himself.

Or, one will grow in the same acidic soil, expecting different results, or the plants to conform to the maladjustment the gardener holds. This is not psychotic, or any other malady except childish selfishness. The simple cure is to choose a responsible alternative, and grow with your plants.

I'm going to try okra again this year. The flowers are beautiful, the fruit is pleasing.
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Re: The Garden

Post by Hermit »

The good ones always live out of town.
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Re: The Garden

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I'm elated because my seeds arrived. The first batch anyway: heirloom peas, runner beans, okra, bachelor buttons, poppies, waiting on lavender and other herbs to finish up. Seed potatoes have been on the window sill now for and are shooting green eyes out.

It should be -20C. It's raining right now. It's not right. El Nino or no El Nino.

I don't have a lot of friends. The reason I chose the nic "Hermit" is because it pretty much fits my personality, and my lifestyle. I have a quiet life. My only real friends are a six year old miniature schnauzer and family that I live with. I have acquaintances in the buildings that I clean, but otherwise it's a pretty lonely existence.

I've been experiencing a sense of grief that I simply cannot shake. Grief, loss, loneliness that won't budge. It diminishes and increases depending on the day. I actually considered medicating except that somehow I think that would get in the way of authentic-ness. Working through it is difficult, some days better than others. Elsewhere on the forum I'm engaging with ideas in way that people might find abrasive. Since this is my thread, I want to express what's going on internally without getting into particulars. I'm letting people show me who they really are. I'm letting people demonstrate to me their "realness" as RuPaul would say. I'm drawn between an internal that says this is why the hermit's path is safe because it isolates one from the interactions that are difficult, if not painful, for me and a realization that on some level this is behavior/belief that I express, albeit with different window dressing.

Every line that I write seems to take more and more effort to put out on the keyboard. Typing through an internal mud that won't dry but gets stickier and stickier for two reasons: because I need to push myself out of my comfort zone, and because doing so creates such a profound sense of anxiety that needs to be challenged. The Desert Fathers knew that even in isolation there needed to be community, debate, and exchange of ideas; fellowship. I know even then in those ancient times there had to be butting of heads. My concern is that the current butting will be misconstrued, misunderstood.

I think the reason it hits me in the gut so hard, watching the exchange that's transpiring right now, is that because at it's absolute heart it's a mirroring of something that I thought was unique, or at least, isolated in my own behavior. It's demonstrating to me that even with thousands of miles between people the habits, the games, the things that we keep as dear because they protect us are nothing more than consistent, boring, self-preserving games that in the long run end up hurting us more than protecting us.

An old friend a long time ago in a dance club far far away once told me (with regards to testing potential boyfriends) to let them show you who they really are, and don't be afraid to act accordingly. I think the same has to hold true for individuals we hold as friends. Even in recognizing limiting behaviors that, in creating tension in our own selves, actually end up being the creator of a tension that is "I am discovered!"

Last year, I planted a variety of onion called "Welsh Best". I'd never seen an onion seed before. They look like tiny hard onions, deep brown. When you see an onion that way, then plant it, then harvest it months later, it makes sense as a metaphor when people refer to self discovery as peeling the onion.

So far to go, so far have I come.
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