Neither trees nor raspberries will plant themselves. Ordering 40 oak trees and close to 50 small fruiting plants (blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, black raspberries, elderberries) felt exhilarating, even gratifying in the abstract. But when these 90 odd plants were delivered to us on the same day (Tuesday) the internal pressure began. It felt nearer to excruciating. In the hours that passed between their arrival and their planting I was beset with nagging anxieties about their roots drying out or their leaves withering. (And while it is nice to think that I am truly concerned about the fragility of nature, I am positive those fears were propelled in part by my not wanting to lose the money we spent on the plants (financial security/ambition), or my not wanting to appear negligent or stupid to you for killing things we thought we could care for (reputation/self-esteem)). In any case, we have been striving diligently together to prepare the ground and marry those plants to it.
Thursday was dramatic. A steady wind hurled small storms across the sky, punctuated by vigorous sunlight. It had rained heavily during the night and there was more predicted for the day. When I joined Normandy on the hill she was into her third hour of turning manure and compost into the beds we had prepared for the berries. I could see Garth and Edmund moving in the scraggly brush beyond the orchard, staking and planting the oaks. After picking up a hard rake I looked to the Western horizon where a deep purple cloud was spreading above the trees. "Whoa, do you see that?" I shouted to Normandy over the wind. "I just keep my back turned," she said as she plunged her shovel into the ground.
This struck me as a poignant metaphor. When I stare down the tunnel at the real or imagined storms ahead, it obstructs my access to the power available to me now to do what I can and use what I have for good. Very few of the clouds that became visible on the horizon actually dropped anything on us. Likewise, very few fears (it may actually be none) are worth acting on. A small example: a few days ago I was preparing lunch for everyone, when I noticed a constrictive urgency to finish already! With those feelings inside and a bunch of cilantro in my hand I was tempted to rush it and rip the top half of the bunch off and throw the rest in the compost. That was ridiculous! Ed, Normandy and Garth hadn't come in for lunch yet and there was no real cause for that urgency. I tried to 'keep my back turned,' so to speak, and use every good part of the herb instead of wasting half of what was there in a needless panic. I did and it felt good.
The above photo was taken in the rain this morning. It is graciously watering our plants in for us. The oaks are in the tiny green protective tubes you can hardly see in the background and the raspberries are in front.