I am personally uplifted by going out into a natural place. Taking a walk is one of my favorite things to do. I meet something there that is both unknown and familiar. I engage by just being there. In the moment, I am bringing a depth to this place by being human, by observing and letting the thoughts arise in me. These were not conscious before I entered, and do not linger in this place when I am gone. The fountain from which these thoughts arise, manifests less than perfectly in the things I perceive around me. But, as thoughts in me, they can find an ever-higher level of manifestation. Understanding is one of my reasons for being here.
I take this job to heart without effort. It come as a human impulse from deep within me, without prompting. I look, because nature is interesting and beautiful to me. I wonder, because new questions always arise in me when I see something new. Thoughts arise intuitively that hold some promise of resolving my questions. Then I look again, this time through the lens of these thoughts, knowing that a true lens will let me see more, and see more deeply. If the lens of my thought is flawed, looking again will gently correct these flaws. What I once saw through less experienced eyes, becomes clearer with eyes that are now sharpened by understanding. My first job and my first reward is discovery.
The reward of discovery is growing sense of familiarity. As a child, I had the impulse to bring something home with me; a stone, a leaf, a snake in my lunchbox, something to bring back to my family. I am actually fortunate that this menagerie of friends was not met with more enthusiasm. Through my mother’s animated recoil, I discovered the value of the discovery itself rather than the importance of the natural object. It was more effective to bring home the tale of my discovery and leave the turtle in its home. When I found another turtle, it was not added to my collection, but assimilated into my growing understanding of the turtle I kept in my soul. Its familiarity and newness rung as true as an old friend. My discovery is mine to keep, and stays alive with me always.
Now, when I look out at the world, it is largely familiar and precious to me. I carry it in my soul as I do all the loved ones in it. In a garden, I can bring some of my extended family home. But more important, is what I give back. What I really bring to this sacred home is my humanity; the ability to experience nature as sacred; to experience the sacred in nature. In a garden, my understanding and care extend through my hands and tools. My second human job is my work.
It is no small gift that I give to a plant when I work to discover a more perfect image of it, hold that image lovingly in my soul, and nurture it to express that perfection more beautifully. When I work to understand soil, and practice that understanding, the garden soil is not the only thing that comes closer to perfection. I do too. The plant and the soil return the gift by honing my understanding of themselves, and my understanding of myself, and giving me wisdom about the world.
As in an unmanaged wilderness, I also bring a depth to this landscaped place by being human, by observing and letting the thoughts arise in me that were not conscious before. However, with my caring work, the increasing depth of my being really does linger in this place when I leave. If I can fathom the sacred, and work consciously to help it manifest in the outer world, I bring lasting depth to this world. I am then living up to my human potential and my role in Nature. My second reward is that I am becoming more human as I do this work.