Who gets up early to discover the moment light begins? ~Rumi Rising about 3:30 a.m. as I like to do, enjoying the extravagant privacy of a house surrounded only by water music and darkness, I’m watching for a marauding, fat doe when first light breaks. She’s accustomed herself to enjoying breaking her fast at Adytum in the Children’s Garden on plump organic blueberries, then heading to the ¼ acre fenced garden to nibble on tender lettuces, cruising the plum and apricot trees, and finishing with raspberries on the fence.
Life on Birley Mountain in Washington State, overlooking Lake Mayfield, the Tilton and Cowlitz Rivers, the blueberry and flower fields of the DeGoede Bulb Farm is serene and peaceful. No wonder this doe feels right at home raiding my gardens. The blue jays are the ones who usually let me know she’s doing it again- unless of course, they are ratting out their own out of jealousy that one of their cohorts reached the ripening plums before they did. The bird song begins before 4:30 a.m. – before first light. I heard once that if you visit a zoo before dawn, you will be greeted with what seems to be cacophony, but in their own unified dissonant way each of the zoo’s occupants greet the dawn with their voices raised in song. Animals…ever the shining example to us all with their focus and priorities in the right place.
The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don’t go back to sleep. ~Rumi So life is peaceful for the wildlife here on this mountain, and for me…I’m watchful. We are in the first years of these gardens- the 6th now- so there isn’t quite the bounty to share yet particularly in the vineyard or with the 50 or so Old English Roses lining their rows and the larger gardens. One day we won’t mind feeding them all and we’ll have plenty to share. Isn’t that just the Tao of Nature? Walking barefoot, I “ground out” on grass soaked with heavy dew and feel the mist on my face as I walk the grounds to make my presence known and make sure the Doe isn’t in the vineyard which will stands to produce a better yield of Pinot Noir grapes in this third year. Jays dip into the fountains to prepare for the heat of the day which lately emerges around 2 in the afternoon when the fogs burn off. This weather transition, marked by the Breath of the Dragon rising in a chill fog off the Lake, is the era of spiders- big ones – and it reminds me I dreamed of one last night; always a good sign of creativity on the rise. This is, as Keats said, “The season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.”
Just when we think summer has finally arrived in the Pacific Northwest with a week or two of welcome sunshine, the mists come with the dawn illuminating the work of the Weavers and we remember that good or bad, all is fleeting and we must savor life before it passes us by. If moments are all we have, moments are the silken strand with which we weave our life. We must always be planning our next garden, tending to the ones we’ve established and not neglecting the most important one of all ~ the garden of the Interior.
Set out now, while you’re strong on the heart’s vast plain: You’ll never discover joy on the plain of the body. The heart’s the only house of safety, my friends: It has fountains, and rose gardens within rose gardens. Turn to the heart and go forward, travelers of the night; There’s where you’ll find trees and streams of Living Water. Mevlana Rumi (1207 – 1273) On a Tuesday in mid-July, I answered a spontaneous invitation to leave my work behind and visit some lavender farms in our area. It did me and my nurse practitioner friend, Margie, so much good and we both kept remarking about the power of a little change of scene and a break in routine. It was so lovely and the air so rich with the seductive lure of summer in each purple blossom that I decided on the spot fields of lavender would be my next garden. We interviewed the owners of Castle Rock Lavender Farm and I’ll share it with you in a separate post because it was rich with information. I came back to Adytum with a book which they suggested having used it themselves to set up their acreage with a productive lavender farm, and of course, I returned with lavender… two pounds of lavender buds for drawers, pillows, and gifts, essential oil, massage oil which I will also use with vinegar to mop the wood floors with.
Margie suggested we stop at the Chehalis Farmer’s Market on Boistfort Street, only open Tuesday from 11-4pm. There too we found more lavender from a local farm – a handmade wreath tightly woven.
The Market was small, just taking up a street on either side, but it was sufficient and we enjoyed some raw treats of nuts and dates made into little balls as we walked along to each stall and learning about raising Emu for their oil. When Margie found out they were killed at 18 months, and we’d seen their fuzzy baby pictures, she decided to forego the oil she’d intended to buy. “Why do they have to kill them for their oil?” she lamented. “Yes, they should just give them lypo (suction)!” I offer. “That is a typical “Kat” statement!” (: Well it made sense to me. If they could create the goose that laid the golden egg by fattening the Emu and siphoning it back off a few times before they slaughter them (they eat the meat, and the timing of that most likely had much to do with their 18 month life sentence) then perhaps we’d buy their oils and lotions.
We finished with the farmers, leaving with the wreaths, plants, and vegetables that were actually a bit wilted from the heat toward the end of day. Morning is the time for Marketing…We decided to visit some of these farms and get some inspiration and instruction for our own greenhouses and the land devoted to feeding us.
Weekends at Adytum in summer are spent outside as much as possible, whether eating every meal on the deck watching the boats on Lake Mayfield or hiking waterfall trails. We found Nature’s gardens in the Goat Rocks area abounding with water music and the characteristic beauty of the Pacific Northwest. We have taken much inspiration at Adytum Sanctuary from Nature as we’ve planned gardens here.
Little wild strawberries and lupine, Alpine Fir with their whimsical contortions gained not from a Bonsai master’s hardwiring them but from bending under winter snowpack, ferns of every variety, and early wildflowers like Indian Paintbrush and Beargrass. The downed trees become sculpture and nurse logs for future forest inhabitants. The natural gardens from the hand of the Creator are the most satisfying and artful evoking soul and fantasy and mystery…and inevitably they send us home with desire to recreate them here.
And don’t think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It’s quiet, but the roots are down there riotous. ~Rumi Don’t neglect the garden of the Interior. As we transition through seasons we can’t depend on outward displays of color and beauty to ravish our senses and buoy us up with delight. Everything beautiful begins within and it is that garden we must always be cultivating. It is from that sacred garden we gift the World with love and the magnificence we are here to offer.
“Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun; Conspiring with him how to load and bless With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run; To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees, And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core; To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells With a sweet kernel; to set budding more, And still more, later flowers for the bees, Until they think warm days will never cease, For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells. Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store? Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find Thee sitting careless on a granary floor, Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind; Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep, Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers: And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep Steady thy laden head across a brook; Or by a cyder-press, with patient look, Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours. III Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they? Think not of them, thou hast thy music too, – While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day, And touch the stubble plains with rosy hue; Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn Among the river sallows, borne aloft Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies; And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn; Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft; And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.” ~ Keats