I started this writing project last August when we were in the middle of a tremendously busy summer. It seemed like a strange time to commit to a weekly post, but I did it anyhow because I felt compelled to do so. I knew it would be a challenge but I wanted to put myself to the test and see what I was meant to learn along the way.
I set a few boundaries and guidelines for my writing before I started. First, I decided to allow myself to acknowledge that our society is out of balance in my posts, but I would not dwell on those imbalances or make my posts about my opinions.
The second guideline I set for myself was to share in each of my posts something about the relationship I have with the natural world. Most of my time is spent here on these five acres, so it made sense to keep it close to home.
I also made myself a deal to not get caught up in perfectionism, which is hard. Now that I’m down to my last couple of months of writing these posts I’ve discovered that the harder I try to write the perfect post, the less happy I am with it. When I try too hard to control the direction a piece of writing wants to go, the less room there is for surprise. I know this, and yet I have to learn this over and over again.
One of the best things that’s come from committing to write every week is that I’m learning how to get out of my own way. I’m learning how to listen less to my chattering brain and more to my heart. When I’m successful with this, I’m having fun. When I’m caught up in trying to come up with a clever line or insert my own version of meaning into a piece, I grow weary of my own voice. Like everything, this takes practice, and ultimately that’s what I’m doing with the Five-Acre Almanac. I’m practicing.
It’s a writing practice, but it’s more than that.
It’s a practice in knowing myself and my surroundings. It’s a practice in finding hope. It’s a practice in seeing wonder. It’s a practice in being authentic. It’s a practice in trying to connect with people. Mostly it’s a practice in setting myself aside and allowing for something beyond myself to find its way through.
This week it’s been hard for me to set my thinking brain aside for long enough to sit down and write as I’ve been engaged in imaginary arguments with people whose minds I’m never going to change. I even considered breaking the rules I set for myself when I set out on this year-long writing project in order to make my opinions known, but then I remembered that I set those rules for reasons I can’t fully explain.
This is a practice in setting myself aside. This is a practice in embracing the quiet rather than the noise. This is a practice in trying to live above and beyond my opinions about how the world should be. This is a practice in letting the Natural World, the Way of things, God, the Divine, teach me something new.
Some of you who live here might remember that a few years ago there was no lupine blooming anywhere around the Kenai Peninsula. The few plants we found on our property looked shriveled and unhealthy and none of them flowered. Our neighbors commented on their absence and even in places where they were commonly found there were no blooms. But this year they exploded. They popped up unexpectedly in our garden. Roadsides are lined with them from the Homer Spit all the way up the Peninsula. Where a single lupin plant could once reliably be found, this year there are a dozen.
I wish I knew the scientific explanation of why the lupine are having such a good year and why they failed to bloom a few years back, and I’m curious to know if there is a connection between the two. What I do know is that all the conditions that allow them to thrive must have come together at once and the result has been a stunning display of every shade of purple.
There’s a form of alternative medicine that has to do with understanding a flower’s essence and it’s based on the idea that flowers have a healing vibrational energy. When I first heard about it, the idea that a flower could bring any kind of healing seemed far fetched, but that was more about me than it was the flowers. Now I think about plants differently.
Now I think that healing can come in surprising forms.
This year the lupine was so abundant that it seemed like it might be shouting to get our attention, like it was pushing its healing vibrational energy on us a bit forcefully, so I looked it up online to see what its energetic properties might be. The first thing that came up was “Lupine – Challenging the Human Soul to Greater Acts of Generosity and Selflessness.”
For two weeks, the lupine held our attention with its beauty, and that was a gift. But maybe its greater gift was something beyond its beauty. Maybe as our eyes took in all those shades of purple it was taking in something more. I like to imagine it’s possible.