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Report From PIA – January 4

Today, I was staring at the heaps of snow on my entry garden, and reminding myself that winter is moving steadily toward spring. Each season, every day, is linked to the previous and to the next.

I remembered a time when I gardened in Columbia County, New York, and was pulling quack grass out of my perennial bed. The network of intertwined roots that this weed develops is alarming, and even after hours of patient pulling, the grass would soon be back.

Hoping to diffuse my sense that this attempt at clearing was hopeless, I decided to treat this weeding session as a tiny vision quest. “There’s something here that I need to know,” I thought to myself, “and to find it, all I need to do is follow these roots.”

When you surrender to it, and let everything else drop away, weeding is a great form of meditation. As I pulled those roots and my mind got quieter, it allowed for a sudden awareness to enter. “Everything is connected.” This knowledge, this certainty, was just there.

Believing that everything is connected is both reassuring and completely unnerving. I feel both small, and worryingly powerful. It’s one thing to know that which products I choose to use or not use in my garden is important. In this case I can make good choices knowing that what I do in my yard is linked to the rest of the world.

But if every stupid thing I say, every tissue I use or orange I let get moldy in the refrigerator is tied to everything else, than let me apologize to everyone right now because I’m clearly not contributing very well here.

I have no idea how my actions and inactions fit into the whole, but I do know that gardens grow and manage to look beautiful even when infested with quack grass, and snow banks melt and give way to spring.

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