Browsing Tag

plants

Gratitude, Guest Posts

Plants, Life and Death

February 8, 2022
plants

I’m in a garden with a potential new client, a veterinarian. She has some tough growing conditions: in the back of the house, there’s dense shade, Japanese maple roots that inhibit the survival of anything planted in the ground nearby, and, in the front, five window boxes in blazing sun without an easy way to water them.

I see her cats through the window. One of the cats, a big tabby, is rubbing up against the window when I put my hand there. I tell her I’ve got a special affection for tabbies, as I interact with the cat through the closed window. She’s surprised, says the cat usually runs and hides from people he doesn’t know, but he seems to be enjoying my attention behind the safety of the glass.

I notice the cat has an interesting colored eye; green on top with gold running diagonally across the bottom. I comment on the cool coloring and she responds that… it is cool looking… but that sometimes eye discoloration in cats is a sign of cancer, and that the only way to know for sure is to biopsy it by removing the eye. Then, she says, she’s glad she didn’t do that, because now the second eye is becoming discolored as well.

I’m embarrassed for having called the cat’s eyes cool looking, now that I know the possible cause.

We go back to talking about plants,  she tells me what she’s tried, what’s worked and what hasn’t, what’s worked on one side of the yard, but not the other.  I name some plants that she hasn’t tried, plants might work in her yard.  I pull up photos of those plants on my phone to show her, and we talk about where I could plant them.

I tell her, too, that it’s sometimes an experiment, we’ll try different plants.

She says: I trust that you know what you’re doing, that you’ll find something that will work.

I say, well, I do know what I’m doing. But that doesn’t mean that sometimes I’m not  experimenting, I try different things and see what makes it, and sometimes plants die anyway.

I wonder if I’ve said the wrong thing. I think about her patients, cats that she may not have been able to save, I think about her own cat who might have cancer in his eyes.  I’m sure she knows what she’s doing, and, maybe, sometimes trying to figure out how to save a cat is an experiment, too.

I think about the people I worked with in Harm Reduction – people who were injecting heroin, and sometimes cocaine and other drugs, and engaging in other activities that put them at high risk for HIV and other diseases.

I think about all the people who might not be saved despite the most knowledgeable doctors, the most equipped hospitals and the best medicine.

I’ve told people that I switched from working in Harm Reduction to gardening because the stakes are so much lower. I am grateful that my responsibility is now limited to the lives of plants.

Carrie Borgenicht lives, gardens, pets cats, and occasionally writes in Philadelphia, PA.

Delight, Guest Posts, Inspiration

Discovering Who You Are. Guest Post by Suzanne Campbell.

June 11, 2012

Today’s guest post is an amazing journey and one that should not be missed. Suzanne Campbell is a gifted artist, photographer, meditation teacher, and all around amazing human being. She’s also written a beautiful book about her friend’s dog who had been abused and ending up finding love and hope. All proceeds from the book go to helping abused animals. Please check out “Brandy’s First Swim” on Amazon and tell me you don’t shed a tear or two.

Suzanne Campbell.

 

On Discovering Who You Are.

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, the rational mind a faithful servant; we have created a society that honors the servant and forgotten the gift.  ~ Albert Einstein

When Jen, my awe inspiring yoga teacher, asked me to contribute a guest post on her blog, my heart (intuitive mind) said yes! and my rational mind said no. You can see from my words that I politely ignored the latter.

I have spent the last few years working the muscles of my intuitive mind despite the cries and screams of my rational mind who has run the show most of my life.

Only in retrospection, selection, we say, that was the day.~ T.S. Elliot

Looking back at the unraveling of my parent’s forty-year marriage, I see my shift clearly, when my ego and my rational mind could no longer steer me anywhere helpful.

I could not think my way through this.  I had to experience it and to do this I needed to find my precious, inner voice.

And then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk to bloom. – Anais Nin

My journey to consciously seek a greater connection with my intuitive mind began by reading countless “self-help” books, books on dreams, quantum physics, and anything that talked about the function of the brain.  (And, yes, I will tell you my favorites if your rational brain needs some suggestions) Looking back this was my way of preparing my rational mind to let go a little by keeping it busy and giving it new information and tasks.  My next step was signing up for a meditation retreat. I thought if I could sit quietly and learn to meditate, I could hear what my heart was saying and then learn to speak my truth.  Silly, rational-minded me thought three days would provide the answers.  I drove away from the retreat renewed and energized but soon that feeling faded and I was wandering aimlessly again through a stress-filled world. Rather than leaving to meditate on a retreat again, I decided to take a weekly class in mindfulness and meditation to help me continue a practice in my everyday life.  I loved that this type of class was available and the range of people seeking it was wonderful.  There were doctors and nurses, surfers and actors, college students and grandmothers.  What we all had in common was our desire to handle life’s stresses differently, better somehow, by adding a new tool to our toolbox.

“Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.” Bernice Johnson Reagan

Then something happened that I was not expecting.  I got inspired!  The kind of inspired that takes hold and I just had to go with it.  After months of feeling emotionally drained and depressed, I was excited.  I was taking a Horticulture class and stumbled upon a photograph of a wall hanging of succulents.  My first thought was, with a small shift in placement of the plants, they could have collaged a landscape so it would be like a living painting.  (Bare with me if you have no idea what I am talking about) And so a new journey began.  With my intuitive mind at the helm, and my rational mind dutifully figuring out how many 2” succulents I could buy with my next paycheck, I cheerfully drew sketches and drove around California buying plants.

An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.” –Niels Bohr

Fear was no longer running the show.

It was an innocent bystander who occasionally yelled from the sidelines really unhelpful commentary.  My intuition was growing to the point that it was even louder than the cautionary comments and confused looks of people around me.  What a gift to trust in oneself, knowing that mistakes can be made and from them knowledge gained.  I am proud to say I am well on my way to being an expert in the field of Pointillist Plant Art with all the mistakes I have made.

“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.”-Andre Gide

While it is impossible to know what twists and turns would have been different in my life had my parents stayed married.  I believe they followed their hearts and in doing so inspired me to seek and to follow my own intuitive mind.  As you read these words, know that I am sending you my courage, love, and hope for whatever life brings your way.

To connect with Suzanne about her artwork with plants or to set up a photo shoot, please email: suzannebcampbell@gmail.com. Or, if you simply want to let her know that she touched you in some way, as she has done for me, time and time again.