Every year we winterize our screened porch and bring in all our container plants. Jon waters everyone through our scorching Dallas summers and I get to enjoy them when they come inside. A few grace our living and dining rooms where they enjoy winter sun…and delight us and our friends.
Once the plants come inside, we discover chameleons who took up summer residence in the pots. For a few weeks we deftly rescue many of them from our cats.
We have a thriving community of lizards and small garden snakes that love our south-side rock garden. For 13 years no pesticides have been used, just loving attention from Jon and me. We’ve lost a few plants over the years, but that’s the nature of life. We look for what thrives in our summer heat and short-term but extremely cold Texas “northers.” It’s amazing to both of us how lovely these tough, resilient plants are.
Each year in October we harvest our huge basil plants for flavored oils and vinegars, pesto, and sauces. The oils and vinegars are standard gifts for the holidays, along with homemade rosemary focaccia for dipping. People start asking about them in the summer. One friend says she could drink the flavored oil straight up.
Over and over we hear that nothing tastes quite like the things that come from our kitchen. There is definitely something to the notion that love, care and tender focus end up in what we eat. We start the plants early in the season: some as tiny seeds, others as tiny plants. We make sure they get plenty of water—but not too much—a lot of praise and appreciation for their beauty. And we get the satisfaction of watching something that we planted grow into large, fragrant plants. I believe what people taste are the elements of attention, care and gratitude—along with the healthy herbs and spices.
For those of us who were fortunate enough to have mothers who loved to prepare food for their families, that love is what we experienced. That’s why no one else’s Thanksgiving dressing or vegetable soup tastes as good.
We can all taste the difference love makes. And appreciation and gratitude and care and respect for things that live right in our back yard.
When you put all those things into your life in addition to your food, then your whole life is suffused with satisfaction. That’s what meditation does.
Take a break right now and sit for five minutes in gratitude and appreciation for yourself and your journey…and everything that grows around you
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