“Seek not that the things which happen should happen as you wish; but wish the things which happen to be as they are, and you will have a tranquil flow of life.” — Epictetus

When I started out with this blog this morning, prior to finding the opening and closing quotes, I had the most grand intentions of writing about the excitement of barometric charges and the entertainment of my cat, Persephone, seemingly playing shadow puppets in the mud room last evening, but then I stumbled back upon the writings of (not by, mind you) Epictetus and was pulled back into the vortex of his thoughts and of Stoic philosophy (the last time I indulged was in 2006 on a delightful visit to Milwaukee), so this entry may, by in large, be far removed from my original intentions. This just fit.

Eudaimonia” – flourishing. Happiness. I’m drawn to it. Flourishing, as in the plants are, and in the midst of them, I am. There are other points in my weeks that I don’t feel that so much, but that I strive to understand what it is in my way of thinking that constrains that ebullience. But, therein seems to lie the answer as I see the words tumble out onto the screen. It is in the thinking that the flourishing is being relegated, when in the most simple and profound reality flourishing exists purely in the feeling, in the experience, not in the confines of the mind. This definitely takes practice. Every day I remind myself to sit with my experiences. Don’t let my mind wander (which seems to wreak a little havoc with the blogging creativity), but to “be with the tomatoes” – how do they smell, how does it feel, what is the entirety of my physical and human experience. Alexi Murdoch says it well with his music, “I am just a spirit trying to be human.” Try is the key word.

I particularly enjoyed this excerpt from the “Publisher’s Notes” from the book Enchiridion. “In the Stoic view, our capacity to be happy is entirely dependent on ourselves – how we treat ourselves, how we relate to others and how we react to events in general. Events are good and bad only in terms of our reaction to them. We must not try to predict or control what happens, but merely to accept events with equanimity. The only thing we control is our will, and God has given us a will that cannot be influenced or thwarted by external events – unless we allow it. We are not responsible for the ideas or events that present themselves, but only for the ways in which we act on them. ‘God’ in this case is not the divine being of Judeo-Christian theology, but a material immanence conceived as a fiery breath infused in all things.”

It is with the intention of being present that I am continually practicing with the hopes that one day it is my way of being that I trekked into the garden for the market’s harvest. Happily so in retrospect of the culmination of weather events (hail, tornadoes, intense downbursting winds, torrential downpours)  in the evening.

I am just absolutely thrilled with my time in my garden. There is something incredible about being amongst the seeds you start – this is probably carries over quite nicely into all realms of “seeds”, but this is my intensive. This photo is of beets and Red Russian kale – which was planted 1) because I like it and 2) in homage to Tiffany who is making her home in Bend, OR. She had such beautiful kale on her table under our shared tent last year that the market presentation would take on quite an emptiness without it… so I am growing four different varieties! 🙂 This weeks market table will be adorned with Red Russian kale, Scotch blue kale, arugula, loose leaf lettuce (probably the last cutting from this planting – the next planting between rows of Bloody Butcher corn is just emerging), sweet snow peas, onions and BEETS! This is excitement, folks! Not only have I never grown beets before, but I feel like I’m fotunate in how early they are making their appearance.I have also been experimenting with the time of day that I harvest. Last week I harvested in the evening, presuming upon the theory that the plant is acquiring sunlight throughout the day and stockpiling stores of energy to move it through the night, that the end of the day would be when the plant is most powerful. This week I harvested at the middle of the day. I observed a significant difference in the plants. This may have been contributed to by 40 mile and hour winds and 85 degree temperatures as well – Mother Nature institutes so many damn variables. I am also looking forward to learning more about biodynamics and harvesting according to the moon – there are days that are better for leaves, for roots, for fruits – supposedly this enhances the flavor and storage of the item harvested. This investigation may have to wait for implimentation until next year, but for now the proverbial seed is planted, and it is in my consciousness when I am harvesting.

In my kale harvest, I was coming across a fair amount of leaves that were less than market worthy. Ah-ha! The chickens will love me! I harvested an ice cream pail full of greens for them and then promptly went to visit. At the sound of my voice Ruby, Willy, Wonka and two of the G.G.’s (Golden Girls) clamored to the door of their pen… can you tell they are ridiculously spoiled? I scattered the leaves about the ground and they happily went to pecking them apart. Lovely little beasts. I also decided it was a good day for my first-ever egg checking. Yes, I say that with a sigh and relief as I unencumber myself with the admission that I have not visited the chickens in their coop in over a year – since they were fuzzy little chicks! Mom and Shane are both very diligent in tending to them, and I haven’t had a particular absorption with them, so I have remained a distant, albeit appreciative, consumer of their most wonderful culinary contribution.  This is one of the G.G.’s quietly tending to keeping her egg. I let her. Hope to see you at the market on Saturday morning. I will continue my shameless plugging of the Downtown Mason City Market in it’s new-this-year lovely locale, City Park, just north of the Southbridge Mall, from 9am until noon. There will be live music AND, another shameless plug, a free tai chi class in the middle of the park at 11am with the gentleman I am studying Chinese Wellness Arts with and owner of Mason City Wellness Center, Glen Hepker. Do make it a point to come – it’s a wonderful experience in being present!

“What we need are more people who specialize in the impossible.”
— Theodore Roethke