- At the Desert Retreat House -
I was somewhat taken back when I walked into our local market yesterday to be greeted by a display of things people might need for this new “growing season” - packets of seeds, little pots of herbs, soil and fertilizer. My first reaction to seeing all this was,” Why on earth are they selling all this planting and growing stuff, this is the beginning of Autumn?
Since I spent most of my life on the east coast of the United States, I find that even though we have lived in Southern California for several years, I still think of Autumn as a time to prepare for shutting down, a time to get ready for winter. In my mind I expect to walk into a store and see them selling rakes for the falling leaves, snow shovels and anti freeze; and instead they are selling seeds and potting soil.
Out here in the desert, this is our second growing season of the year. The intense summer heat is coming to a grateful end, cacti are blooming again, and all sorts of new “autumn blossoms” are springing up from the exotic desert foliage in my garden and along the wilderness trails. I guess I better start planting my winter garden.
I have often said that the desert is perhaps my best teacher, it offers so many lessons about life, so much wisdom for the journey – that’s one of the reasons a desert is often perceived as being such a spiritual place. At this time of the year the lesson the desert teaches is:
Don’t ever shut down.
Don’t ever give up.
Every season of life is a growing season.
I know plenty of people who feel as if they have reached a dead-end place in their lives. Their life-long ambitions have never come to fruition, relationships have failed or dried up, they are bored with their jobs or have no jobs, many are dulled by the “same old-same old” of the daily routine. Sometimes people become cynical and begin to “shut down” late in life, others do it very early on.
Whether or not you actually live in a desert, the lesson of nature learned from the wisdom of the wilderness offers us all a “wake-up call:” Every life is teeming with blossoms that have not yet bloomed no matter how dry life may seem or how long the day has been. Every moment is filled with new possibility, every season is a growing season.
As I write my blog post this morning a cool, gentle wind is blowing through the desert ushering in this new season. The day dawns and the time for planting is fast approaching. It reminds me of a wisdom saying often attributed to the Buddha:
There are two mistakes one can make on the road to truth,
One is not going all the way,
the other is not starting.
I have work to do – I have to start planting the winter garden.