Nature in the City

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August 24, 2012 8:47 am

Just went for a lovely foggy morning run up to Oceanview Farms. I love that place. And I want to do this run every morning, it gives me such a healthy feeling and makes me feel alive again. The farms are beautiful, lush and overlooking the Pacific. Lots of people have their own little plot there, that they cultivate. I can imagine them coming in the eveningtime, at sunset, to take a little repose in the haven they’ve created with their own hands.

Outsiders are not supposed to enter, but I walked in this morning and nobody stopped me. I wandered the gardens, sat in the benches, and plucked a few tomatoes and raspberries. I found a (presumably) homeless man sleeping beneath a canopy looking so peaceful and smiling slightly. I was startled at first, but then I thought it made perfect sense: if you were homeless, why wouldn’t you get off the noisy dirty street to sleep in a peaceful little heaven with fruits and flowers? And if you were the gardener, why wouldn’t you want your garden to provide sanctuary to the downtrodden and out of luck?

It’s in stark contrast that this homeless man was asleep peacefully in a garden, while just hours earlier I had witnessed a vet on the side of the road at the freeway exit, looking miserable and skyward, as if to ask God “why me?” I felt awful, but had no change, and chickened out before I could hand him the squished breakfast bar I had sitting beside me in the car. I gave him a sad face and drove on, which probably didn’t help him much.

Maybe that’s why in that garden, with sweaty desire to do something pulsing out of my pores into the beauty—like osmosis of sorts—I plucked a small collection of raspberries and tomatoes and placed them on a wooden board next to the sleeping homeless man. It didn’t make amends for my failure to help the first guy, but it did lift my heart enough to think that maybe, just maybe, this homeless man would awake to a loving gift, rather than a rude and startling reproach from the garden’s “owner.” Or maybe he won’t even find the offering, and just wander by it, or perhaps think it was left intentionally by some child intending to come back for it tomorrow. I guess I’ll never know.

It’s scary to me that I stare at an electronic screen more often than I do at God’s creations. Leaves and flowers and fruits, and creatures (I watched a bumblebee pollenating up close for a few minutes) are the most incredible and natural of all things. And yet, we pass them by, or mow them down to make room for technology and industry. When did the world become so backwards, and how do we return it? Perhaps by starting with our own lives: I think I need to make a change, and get more green in my life: even if I live in a city. This morning’s meditation in the silent fog has given me enough peace of mind to face the concrete.Image

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