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Report From An Opinionated Gardener – April 12

I decided today that beach combing and weeding are very similar. In both cases you are focused down toward the earth, paying attention and, hopefully, letting everything else slip away. The one important difference is when you comb the beach you’re looking for things you’d like to keep and when you weed a garden you’re searching for things that you want to throw away.

Both are meditative activities, however. Soothing, once you surrender to the experience and are willing to focus on small areas at a time. This afternoon I had some time in between meetings and consultations and a speaking gig in Manchester, so I visited some old beach combing grounds in Gloucester, MA. Twenty years ago I used to check the tide tables so that I knew the best times to visit this beach.

Although the treasures aren’t as plentiful anymore (too many beach combers and time/waves passed I suspect) the take after only an hour of searching was respectable. More important than the beach glass, pottery shards and worn bricks, however, was the calming benefit of simply slowing down.

April is my busiest speaking month, so I haven’t spent much time in the garden yet. Today’s brief walk on the beach reminds me, however, of the therapeutic nature of focusing on simple acts. I can hardly wait to get into the garden and start weeding.

Shard beach, I used to call it.

Not a bad haul for an hour's worth of looking.

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