Posts Tagged ‘vision’

Garden Update: A Bigger Vision

I haven’t given a garden update in a long time, because I’ve been super busy working in the garden. In the past few weeks, I’ve quietly increased the front yard garden by another third. Having the extra space means dedicated spots for tulips, lilies, crocuses, and Dr. Seuss-like alliums, plus more room for fall mums, and spring hyacinths and daffodils. I’ll also have more growing areas for things like garlic and carrots.

In fact, this upgrade and expansion began when I realized I didn’t have anywhere to plant bunches of garlic. I started adding Big Bag Bed Mini’s on the inside edge of my existing garden. You can see two of them towards the bottom left:

Those who’ve followed the evolution of this garden will notice another upgrade: a sculptural raised bed to replace the dying, dead, then toppled weeping birch tree.

I miss the birch tree, but it had been dying since we bought this place in May 2017. I nursed it for awhile, but it felt so discouraging to watch the tree’s demise no matter what I did. The woman who planted it stopped by and revealed that this was the third weeping birch she planted in that location. This eased my feelings of inadequacy. I already knew this was not a preferred spot for birch trees, but now I knew it would never thrive there. It wasn’t my fault. I stepped back and allowed nature to take its course.

Once it died, the birch became a bastion of wildlife. So many species of birds landed on those branches, and we even had a nest of wrens. On June 18, 2021, in a post called “The Next Phase and a Collective Dream,” I posted about the tree toppling over in a storm. (11:11 as I typed the title). All that day and the next, birds flew in to pay their respects to the fallen tree, but then they stopped coming. That half stump felt like a persistent reminder of loss.

I couldn’t decide what to plant instead. David and I considered everything from a weeping Norway Spruce, to a medlar tree, to a crabapple or even a sculpture instead of a tree. One day, I decided to add a raised bed out back and went on Gardener’s Supply Company to find one of the troughs I loved in Goshen. While looking at those, I came across this — a sculpture and a raised bed:

You can see another layer of Big Bag Bed Mini and three new Smart Pots between the new raised bed and the original outline of the garden. I needed to add rock (bottom center-right) to even the ground. A dream gave me the solution to filling this thing. I used a combo of cut up Smart Pots and Big Bag Bed Mini’s to line the structure. That will keep the soil from rushing out and also provide better insulation than just a metal structure.

I planted the mum’s so it wouldn’t look like an empty bed, but the real fun will bloom in spring. This bed is layered with early and mid-season tulips, daffodils, alliums, and grape hyacinths. I have very early blooming crocuses en route to me as I type. I haven’t decided what summer plants will go there — probably some kind of drought hardy perennials, plus a little space for annuals like nasturtium and zinnias. I can’t tell you how encouraging and uplifting it feels to have fall-planted bulbs filling themselves with life below the surface. Literally a difference between death and life.

Yesterday, I realized that my ideas for the expanded front garden coincided with a decision to turn a pair of sunglasses I rarely wore into indoor/outdoor glasses with transition lenses. These are big cats eye glasses, but I kept feeling a nudge to make the switch. All my other glasses turn from regular lenses to sunglasses when I go outside. I’ve found I prefer these to straight sunglasses that remain dark if I walk into a store. Wearing these makes me giggle, and faeries love to giggle:

As strange as it sounds, I feel like these huge lenses led me to “see bigger.” Actually, it doesn’t sound strange to me at all. I wrote a very long post called “Vision and Shapeshifting: A Matter of Perspective.” That post shared more selfies than I had in an entire year prior. Despite knowing I didn’t really need another pair of glasses, it kept nagging me to get them. I became a little obsessed with the idea and looked into David’s vision insurance. Indeed, it’s good insurance.

Long story short, I got these switched to transition lenses, and I agreed to try a pair of polarized sunglasses in a “ruby” tint. The polarized lenses were another leap for me. After my TBI, polarized anything made me so sick that I never tried them again until 23 years later. So glad I did! My point here, though, is that the bigger lenses — and perhaps the curiosity of cats’ eyes — resulted in new garden solutions and expansion. Small, symbolic shifts can lead to big 3D world changes:

My mind sees succession planting of blue hyacinths, fancy daffodils, and 60 days of blooming lilies in that empty Big Bag Mini. There’s a matching one off frame to the right. This upgrade and expansion makes the yard feel like “mine.” It doesn’t look like that much more because of how I worked with existing flow — but that expansion makes a huge difference to me.

Gardens are such wise teachers. Never underestimate the power of flowers. Have a beautiful day!

A Must-See TED Video

This is one of the most incredible TED videos I’ve ever watched. When you see it, you’ll know why I love it so much. Caroline Casey: “Looking past limits.” I had to share. Please click here to watch!

Moths and Healing

We really can learn a lot from bugs!  Consider the lowly moth.  Usually not so glorious in color as its better loved cousin the butterfly, moths nonetheless can teach brilliantly about light and truth. 

“Like a moth to the flame,” we say to describe seemingly uncontrollable actions in the name of love or desire.  The expression often carries with it a sense of pathos.  Poor moth, unable to resist the fire that would destroy it!  And yet, there’s something admirable in that kind of one-pointed devotion to the light.  It reminds us of the potential we all have for true healing through love and Oneness. 

Shortly after we moved to Las Vegas, New Mexico, in 2002, we learned that in May and June, moths overrun the entire town.  Screens and adobe walls do little to deter these shiny grey intruders, and every morning meant awakening to glitter on our pillows.  And sheets. And floors.  And windows.  Moths, pressed against our screens!  Moths on the counters.  Antennae and wings streaked across our bathroom floor from accidental nightime tramplings.

Still recovering from a brain injury,  I found the whole scene maddening.  They flitted in my peripheral vision, teasing eyes that preferred to shut out a world which no longer made much sense.  Anything that moved or flickered bothered me in ways a healhty person cannot fathom.  It felt like pieces of my soul were tickling me with stinging nettle.  My neck would spasm as my eyes twitched, trying to interpret a fluttering world.  I’d grow dizzy and the room would spin.  If my surroundings did not stay completely static, then I felt sick.  All change was bad change, and I had literally developed tunnel vision as a way to cope.

Night after night, I sat at my little writer’s desk, tense with the prospect of grey moths dive bombing my face.  It’s not like I could write for more than 15 minutes anyway!  My eyes would pulse into a migraine after a short time of visual stimulation.  I resented these moths for taking my preciously small amount of visual attention and wasting it!  I wanted them OUT of our house, but every evening more and more appeared. 

Killing them, even if I’d wanted to, meant a gruesome, sticky mess, and so I became obsessed with catching them.  My first night of moth hunting, I only captured a single moth, and it took me three hours to do so.  I chased dozens of moths around the house holding a glass in one hand and a postcard in the other, determined to trap and release.  They made a game of it, lighting on the wall just long enough for me to aim, but not long enough to pounce.  My impaired brain and visual function definitely left me at a disadvantage.  Through tears, I swore the moths were mocking me.

Finally, after hours of missed opportunities, I managed to land a glass on the wall above a moth.  I carefully slid the postcard under the lip and triumphantly showed my now-husband. 

“What are you going to do with it?” he asked, somewhat bemused. 

“Put it outside,” I exclaimed, throwing open the door, at which time ten more moths enterred our home.  I fought and lost the battle with tears of frustration.

“That’s enough for tonight,” said Stephen, giving me a hug.  “You need to rest up for tomorrow.”

Practically sulking, I went to bed and had an exceptionally good night’s sleep.  I awoke the next morning to the usual glitter and wings, but somehow I felt a little more relaxed.  … Until that evening, when the moths began their nightly blitzkrieg.  This time I developed a strategy.  I would follow one or two around the entire house, wearing them down so that they couldn’t dart away from me at the last moment.  

The moths moved fast around my head, reminding me of Wolfe Pursuits–an exercise from my old days of vision therapy.  Three times a week, I had needed to go to the behavioral optometrist’s office, wear prism glasses and follow two curved handles with little silver balls on the end, expertly guided by trained vision therapists.  The goal was to line up the silver balls without shifting my eyes from their smooth flowing motions.  While doing this, I had to concentrate on the entire room as well, because my doctor would sneak up on me to ask, “What color shirt is Willy wearing today?  Who’s behind you?  How far to your right is this chair?” If I turned my head, I had to start over.  

These moths zoomed in front of my face like the silver balls, leaving tracers in their wake.  “This is trippy,” I told Stephen, who continued to look bemused.  That night, I could have caught both moths, but I had forgotten the glasses in the kitchen!  This strategy required more planning than I’d anticipated (no surprise since my sequential reasoning remained severely impaired). 

I was about to quit, but Stephen said, “You give up too easily.”  Well, that made me mad!  Damn moths, I muttered below my breath.  Making me chase you around the whole damn house.  Fluttering around my face.  Ha!  I snagged one on the curtain and quickly realized I had forgotten the postcards.  “Can you please bring me an envelope?” I asked.  Stephen did. 

Once I captured moth number 1, Stephen asked, “What are you going to do with it?” 

“Put it in the kitchen until tomorrow morning,” I said, recalling what had happened the night before.  I actually felt proud of myself for that forethought!  “And now I’m going to catch one more before I go to bed.”  Armed with a glass and postcard, I managed to trap moth number 2 much faster.  I set the second glass by the first and went to bed, feeling the sweet exhaustion of a well exercised body and brain.  In the morning, I released the moths outside, remembering to close the screen door so they would not immediately reenter our house.

This process continued each night for weeks, until I got so good at catching and releasing moths that I ran out of glasses, mugs and cups.  In the morning, our whole walkway would be lined with every container from our kitchen as I ritualistically removed the paper lids and let the creatures go.  “Wow,” said Stephen, “You’ve really gotten good at this.”

“Yep,” I agreed, smiling.  I also felt good.  Due to finances, I had had to quit visual therapy before healing all the way.  Chasing moths reintegrated my vision and brain with surprisingly similar methods.  No, I didn’t have prism glasses, but I did learn to follow moving objects with my eyes instead of my head while paying attention to the entire room. My horribly dimished peripheral field re-opened because I needed it to catch the moths.  (They were tricky!)  My sequential reasoning improved as I spent hours trying to outsmart these furry little insects, and my balance returned by practicing launches and then steadying myself until I could slide a postcard over the glass.

By the time I realized what was happening, moth season ended, but my healing had already solidified.  “Is that why you wouldn’t ever help me catch them?” I demanded.  Stephen just smiled.  To this day, I thank those moths for giving me the discipline and freedom to pursue the treatment I so desperately needed at the time.  And I thank Stephen for his smiles.  He always has liked bugs!