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Minding the Meadow

2019 August 24
by Ann L. Carter

As I walked the dogs this morning, I got an idea for a new garden tour that could feature my place. The last one was “Why You Need Us Tour”, to be sponsored by local commercial landscapers and I’m still disappointed that they never took me up on it. This one (possibly endorsed by the Nature Conservancy) would show homeowners how to expand their natural habitat areas. It doesn’t matter if it was a well thought out decision or just that an older daughter who is skilled on the rider mower moved to Maryland. Either way, the grass now taller than me (no comment, please) provides shelter for lots of dear creatures.

 I still mow some pretty big areas with a push mower, taking it in rounds of five days of 45 minutes each, followed by a couple days break, then starting over. This cycle works unless it rains (yet again) and if that goes on too many more days the garden tour will last long enough to offer lunch midway through.

Part of this new habitat is a pasture that once had our horses and then a neighbor’s cows, but the cows kept getting out and I dreaded seeing an injured longhorn on the road or an angry person with a smashed truck. My sympathy would have gone to the cow and is it necessary to drive 50 mph on a gravel road? I think not.

The pasture has become a meadow, full of all sorts of grasses and wildflowers and is my favorite stretch of the daily dog walk. I often use my time to reflect on such concerns as whether I can get an educational institute to give me a free download of Microsoft Office before my 30 day trial runs out (so far no luck) or if I might have accidentally offended a friend by suggesting she could save money by mowing her TINY yard HERSELF.

Lately, however, I’ve been working on “living in the moment” and “mindfulness”, phrases used so much they’ve become clichés. There’s a saying “just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean someone isn’t following you” and likewise, just because something is a cliché doesn’t mean it isn’t worth pondering.    

So today in the meadow while young dog Finn was catching multiple cicadas and chewing them up, and arthritic dog Kosmo was trying to catch just one, I stopped and looked closely at the flowers. I use the term “flowers” here for anything growing with more than a stem and leaves because, really, isn’t that what flowers are?

Some had such an array of subtle colors that I later made them into a special color palette on my illustration program.

A tiny pick flower was covered in white dots only visible up close.

And a bug eaten Black-eyed Susan (I do know a few names) held up its blossom to the sky.

I’m imagining a brochure that goes with the garden tour in which I give numbered steps for mindfulness, to be practiced on the walk through my expanded natural habitat. So far I’ve only come up with two and maybe that’s enough:   

  1. Just like the first step to changing a bad habit is admitting it’s bad (for example, judging a friend who could easily mow her yard), the first step to living in the moment is recognizing that your mind is somewhere else.
  2.  The next step is to bend down and look at the sweet flowers, nestled in among the grasses by the side of the path, the white petals perfectly and wonderfully arranged around their bright yellow centers.

8 Responses Post a comment
  1. Becky permalink
    August 24, 2019

    I think you’re on to something, Ann, and your pictures are lovely!

  2. Denise permalink
    August 24, 2019

    Thank you, Ann.
    I’m looking for a way to say what your words open for me.
    Truth on this one is simple…
    Release tears and my heart.
    Keep ’em coming please!
    Love, Denise

  3. Denise permalink
    August 24, 2019

    Oh, and I can’t forget the chuckles! LOVE your humor:)

  4. Camille Olcese permalink
    August 24, 2019

    Abby just moved into her very own house, and it has a BIG yard. So 1 more phase of adulthood: mowing!

  5. Susan O permalink
    August 25, 2019

    Wonderful piece! We’ve been working on this here – being mindful, in the moment. So good to have a piece of your life and creativity. Miss you

  6. Madonna Stallmann permalink
    August 26, 2019

    You crrraack me up! I so love (& miss dearly) your sense of humor. As I read your words I could hear your voice! Thank you for this lovely gift of spending a few minutes with you, even though we are hundreds of miles apart. 💟

  7. Belinda permalink
    November 1, 2019

    Thousands of miles apart dear Ann but your words flow as your garden grows in our hearts.Blessings to you, Belinda

  8. Marsha permalink
    April 8, 2020

    I’m learning more about myself now because like most people here in Australia, I,m having to keep up social distancing as one way to avoid the pandemic. The good news is that I enjoy the slower tempo and fewer rush times. There may be a lot less in the grocery stores, and there are still people in droves trying to buy TP, but I feel that some of the high anxiety is settling. The rainy autumn weather here is perfect for thinking and relaxing.

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