I was busy enough with work today, that I was able to just concentrate. Later, when I had a chance to read the latest political news and to take a walk in the May-like day with flowers blooming as if it were weeks later in the year and the ground dry from lack of rain while others are being flooded, I found myself anxious and a welter of other emotions besides. I reminded myself to enjoy the beautiful day for what it was and asked myself what more now ought I to do?
State of the Garden (And Anecdotal Evidence of Extreme Weather Occurrences Due to Global Climate Change)
Scheduled to arrive some time tomorrow is one of those impossible to forecast until it is happening because how fast the storm travels and a variance in its track of even 50-100 miles north or south, or east or west can make the difference between just a bit of rain, a lot of rain with a little snow, and a little rain with a lot of snow, or perhaps the dreaded wintry mix. What I would do for the garden would be different for the various scenarios. The best for continuing to thrive would be a 2-4 inches of snow that didn’t entirely melt when it hits 50F on Saturday and acts as a blanket when it is forecast to get below 20F. I harvested the tenderest of the greens and the last handfuls of unripe tomatoes (they need to be cooked and spiced–it’s way past the date they should have been able to grow). I left the hardier greens and the root vegetables. I will be watching for the true hard freeze right before which I will need to harvest everything. The extreme weather occurrence is not, however, the coming storm, but the fact that I still have this much growing without a cold frame in the middle of January.
turnips, arugula, grape tomatoes, chard, snowpea shoots, kale, roses, assorted lettuce, cilantro, carrots [not shown, but also growing: spinach, green garlic, mint, parsley]
The other day a friend commented that it seemed that a major contributor to global climate change is how we have set out to control our environment instead of aligning with it (my paraphrase). So much, he said, of what contributes to global climate change is how we heat and cool and light our homes and work places. For example, instead of honoring the change of seasons, we overcool in summer and overheat in winter, so that we can wear the same clothes and eat the same foods year round in apparent comfort.
This comment resonated with me deeply. It brought to mind what I have been taught about possible approaches to pranayama — the yoga practice of conscious breathing. Pranayama usually as translated as breath control or restraint. This assumes that the conjunction in sanskrit is of the two words “prana” and “yama.” Prana here refers to the subtle energy of the life force in general, which we can understand best through the breath. Yama means restraint. If, however, we think of pranayama as the conjunction of “prana” and “ayama,” which is a reasonable way of looking at the way the word is formed, we can understood pranayama to be the practice of expansion or alignment with prana.
When we seek with our yoga breathing practices on the mat or with our technology and lifestyles off the mat to restrain and control nature at the expense of listening and understanding, we will be at war with ourselves and the earth. If, however, we seek to align better with nature on and off the mat, to expand and enhance our relationship with the life force, rather than to restrain and control nature, we will expand our awareness of the subtle forces of the earth and live in a more life-affirming way.