A New Place – A New Garden

The Garden Goddesses are smiling on me yet again, sending me gifts and the ability to garden to my heart’s content despite what appeared to be my very limited options this spring. I recently moved to a lovely small town but the place I am renting is a three-story condo. There is no yard or garden, just a very long narrow balcony that faces East.

My Suburban Garden

My Suburban Garden

Since moving to the Fraser Valley, I’ve had access to a small suburban garden where my landlady (who happens to be my sister) gave me permission to remove some of the sod to create a small veggie patch. I also had the sheer joy of collaborating with Jenn Stack with the help of my older sister, Cari, in reviving a large neglected farm garden at Stack Family Farms.

Stack Family Farm Garden

Stack Family Farm Garden

After my recent move, much to my delight, my nieces and sister have taken over the city garden and planted veggies and their favorite raspberries and pumpkins. And the last time I’d spoke with Jenn she was tackling her garden on her own. Gardening really is contagious.

So with a twinge of disappointment, I surveyed my new garden area. I always love a challenge and it’s been decades since I was limited to terrace gardening. I had resigned myself to the fact that because of the space available and that it only received morning sun I would only be able to plant a few flowers, and as far as veggies, it would have to be lettuces and a few herbs.

But then the Nature Spirits and Flower Faeries heard my call. On move-in day, our landlady (not my sister this time but just a lovely) mentioned the town had a community garden and for a mere 25 dollars a year residents could rent an allotment. But there was a long waiting list so if I wanted a chance to have a small plot to dig in I need to get on the list and fast.

I called the next day and was told the lady in charge of the allotments was on holiday for a month but she would call when she got back. After a month I didn’t hear from her so I figured having an allotment wasn’t in the cards, at least for this year.

My Balcony Garden

My Balcony Garden

I told myself to be grateful for the space on the balcony that I did have and I started filling planter after planter with sweet peas, bachelor buttons, cosmos, geraniums and tall grasses to block the ugly view of the neighbouring apartment’s garage. And then the call came. At first there was only a half a plot available which I quickly agreed to take and then a few days later I was told I’d been assigned a full 20 feet by 20 feet garden space.

My Community Garden Plot

My Community Garden Plot

So now I have two gorgeous garden spaces, each with its own purpose and beauty. And I have come to appreciate that my balcony is in deep shade from one in the afternoon as it is only May and the temperature is well into the mid-twenties.

View surrounding my community garden plot

View surrounding my community garden plot

Geraniums Blooming on the Balcony

Geraniums Blooming on the Balcony

I should know by now, if what I desire is in alignment with my highest good then whatever it is flows into my life with no struggle on my part. Sometimes it requires hard work and effort but never frustration or setbacks. The Universe and Garden Faeries for that matter really do want to co-create with us in the most beautiful way possible.

So, I guess The Rolling Stones were right;

You can’t always get what you want, but if you try, sometimes, you might find you get what you need.


The Mean Time: Embracing the Slow Vibration

clock-590293_1280Isn’t it curious that we desire our lives to be a constant upward progression of positive and pleasant events? We want our lives to unfold in ever increasing abundance, accomplishments, and success. But if you are over twenty you have enough experience with this thing called life to know that’s not how it works. Life is more like an EKG of a healthy heartbeat, a repeating cycle of upward peaks followed by downward troughs. Perhaps our hearts understand the rhythm of life better than our minds do; that there is a wisdom to these downtimes when nothing appears to be happening, when all our goals and dreams seem to stagnate. Whether or not we choose to embrace these meantimes and in between times is another matter altogether.

I am currently participating in a seminar series held by, spiritual teacher and empathic healer, Matt Kahn. A couple of weeks ago he presented a new way of looking at life’s downtimes not as a negative but as a gift from the Divine and part of our normal and healthy cycle of existence.

He says:

“So many of us have intuition about what’s ahead in life’s plan and we want what’s up ahead in a chapter of our existence where it is not time to receive it. We want to be high vibration when life says ‘no it’s time to be slow vibration, slow down let’s learn from these lessons, let’s integrate  these insights’ so that when you get to that point of your journey you will be able to handle and receive it.”

And while I understand these deep truths my first and only reaction to the slowing down has been resistance. I ignore the pull of slowing down by working harder, doing more, sending out more query letters and resumes and writing more daily pages. When these efforts don’t pick up the pace of my life, the inevitable frustration, anger and depression would set in.

Instead of resting and reflecting and allowing silence to percolate the deeper more uncomfortable feeling to rise up and be released I would distract myself with books, bingeing on Netflix and constantly checking emails and my Facebook page. I would grasp for anything (even cleaning the grout in the bathroom) to avoid the inconvenient and uncomfortable feelings that persisted.

And then my life would move forward in its own time and in circumstances that I hadn’t anticipated or planned. You’d think as a garden, one so connected to the cycles of the seasons, I would have made the connection that in life so in our human experience.

As Matt explains it;

“Slow vibration by comparison is not as pleasurable as high vibration . . . but be that as it may, blossoming as a flower might be more outrageously pleasurable than a seed underground that has to explode in every direction in order for that flower to blossom but it is necessary for one to create space for the other.

I’ve recently moved to a new town. I’ve unpacked the last box and placed the final stick of furniture in its place and now . . . and now, I find myself in a slow vibration, again. It is early spring, the in between time of the seasons and like spring I too am in between jobs, in between book releases, figuring out the lay of the land in a strange town and getting used to the unfamiliar sounds and feelings of a new place.

I still have moments when I reach for the chocolate and watch yet another episode on Netflix but this time, more often than not, I walk towards the silence and just see what arises without judgement or fear. Last week, I put in the first veggie crop in my new place and as I sprinkled carrots seeds and pushed onions sets into the warm soil it reminded me that I too have been put into the seed phase again, a time to strengthen my foundation and put my energy into expanding in all directions deep below the surface so that when the time comes I can head into the light and bloom extravagantly.


Audie The Cat Bird

Audie closeupAudie is an orange tabby that my nieces adopted last spring. She came with the name Autumn because of her colouring; her coat is a reddish gold instead of the typical pale orange. It only took a few weeks after she arrived to realize her name didn’t really fit her.

I’m not sure which one of us started calling her Audie first but it suited her and the name stuck. She has striking markings and eyes that are such a pale yellow that she looks slightly dazed or crazy all the time. Along with her fiery colouring, she is fine-boned with a delicate face but her back end is rather large. It’s as if she’d been fashioned from two different sized cats. But her name isn’t just a reflection of her funny body shape or otherworldly eyes, it goes deeper than that.

Cats are far less domesticated than dogs and far more independent. But like dogs they have a range of behaviours some that are more prevalent in specific breeds. Long-haired black cats are the most docile and friendly. The most aggressive and prey-driven are orange tabbies. I can attest to the truth of the researchers’ finding as I have had both types of cats in my life over the years. Currently I have three tabbies one who happens to be an orange tabby like Audie. His name is Frankie and he was an outdoor cat before we adopted him from the neighbours. He was a first class hunter; no mouse, vole or bird was safe when he was around and he is usually the first to start a fight with the other cats. Yup, typical orange tabby.

So according to the research, Frankie and Audie share the same DNA and heritage and should both share a similar nature. But that’s not the case. Audie isn’t aggressive or territorial and has no desire to hunt. She is allowed to go outside into the backyard because of her gentle nature and the fact that she never wanders away.

We have a feeder for the sparrows, chickadees and juncos and a hummingbird feeder hanging from the same tree. When Audie was first allowed outside, the birds would scatter when they saw her coming but over time they realized she had no interest in eating them. She does wear a collar and bell but she really doesn’t need the bell to warn the birds because she’s become one of their flock. She doesn’t want to hunt them, or kill them or eat them. She just wants to be near them and watch them at the feeders.

Now they allow her to nestle in under their feeders, quietly watching. And when they feed on the ground they will sometimes come only inches away from her paws. They have also begun to rely on her as an early warning system. When other cats wander into the yard she goes on alert and thus warn her feathered friends.

It’s a good thing Audie isn’t aware she isn’t conforming to who she is supposed to be otherwise she wouldn’t have found such delight in her adopted feathered family. Not such a bad way to live your life when you think about it.

Audie Collage