Tulip Town

Mom planted lupine seeds decades ago from Maine in hopes that they would consider her flower bed in Vermont a good place to establish roots. Apparently they can be fussy. It turns out they love the homestead so much that they suggested some of their children live in the neighbor’s pasture with the donkeys. If it weren’t for the electric fence, Mom would dig those plants up and bring them back to where she thinks they belong.

Funny, when we were growing up, Mom was adamant that we be not only prepared to move out of the house when we got older, but potentially out of the town, state and possibly the country. Maybe the lupine parents felt the same.

When she offered to let me dig some up from her garden, I was honored but also a bit suspect. “They are very particular. Either they like where they live or they don’t”, she said. Oh, I get it. This is a test.

I dug up 4 small clumps to relocate them into our flower bed. Gardening is not my forte. There is no rhyme nor reason why there is a single rhubarb plant, single peony and single rose bush, nor a small patch of mint. The Lady’s Mantle and Lemon Geranium don’t know who owns the most property. I’d make a terrible city planner. Maybe I have a subconscious hope that at least something will be blooming at all times during the summer but it doesn’t really look that way, at least not yet. It’s just green.

I cleared a space and gently transplanted the delicate newcomers. I even watered them. In order to keep an eye on them, in case I forgot what they looked like, I placed wire sticks with red neon flags next to each one. We never had an invincible dog fence so I can only assume I saved the flags from when CVPS was marking the electricity line. Even that theory is a little odd because the line was put down about 25 years ago and I have about 50 of them. A better theory is that they just appeared by magic.

Once finished, I took the weeds that were downsized and moved them to a condo in the compost pile on the other side of the house. When I returned-literally 2 minutes later- I saw the most beautiful flowers shimmering in the late afternoon sun.

“Oh my gosh! Tulips!” You may recall that tulips are not listed above. The 5 seconds of appreciation and joy was visceral. At 6 seconds I realized the tulips were the newly placed neon flags.

As a reader you may think that I was overcome with embarrassment or worry at my mental (in)capacities, but far from it. I was grateful for a moment of spontaneous joy derived from my own stupidity.

We perceive things through or senses, how our minds react to the information has a lot to do with how we move through life. To some, a wire stick furling a day-glo flag may be an eyesore especially when in contrast to something else. For others it’s just pure color.

Our perceptions are what keep the mind active. The active mind then categorizes the situation and responds or reacts. Things are good/bad, pretty/ugly, unpleasant/pleasant, the worst/the best. That’s what the mind does. It tries to simplify what we think we know, even when the grey area may be the most important. Atman, our true self, sees no distinction between dualities. It accepts things as they are. If we begin to notice how our minds jump to conclusions, we may be better equipped to pause and appreciate what’s in front of us more calmly. Calmness should be right up there with cool outfits as a reason to practice yoga.

Four days later the lupine are still perky. If they decide not to stay and opt for a better neighborhood in the compost pile, I’m okay with that. I know I have some rolls of different colored surveyors tape somewhere. A garden of multi-colored flags could be spectacular, a real no fuss garden.

Namaste- neon tulips are okay!

The Ice-breaker Everyone (I) Hates

It’s recommended when meeting new people, and old friends, to ask personal questions. It’s easy, everyone loves talking about themselves. It gives you something to discuss other than the weather. Unless of course you’re learning a new language, then weather discussions are advised.

Questions are good not only because they show you’re an interested and curious listener, but also because it makes the person responding feel interesting. That’s a nice thing to do for someone. It breaks the ice. (No pun intended if your discussion is about global warming en francais.)

I like when people ask me why I like teaching and telling stories.

It gives me the opportunity to tell more stories and watch eyes glaze over.

I don’t like the question “ Who is the greatest inspiration in your life?” That one leaves me speechless and makes my eyes blur.

Too many choices: Public figures, family members, fictional characters, spiritual leaders, philanthropic artists, teachers, babysitters…is this a test?

Will I be judged by my response?

Anyone who knows anything knows you should select someone who is universally important (to show worldliness) or someone familial (to show appreciation), then again one may do the latter to stay in the good books.

Speaking of which, what if my inspiration is Eloise who lives in the Plaza Hotel with her dog, Weenie, rather than Jane Eyre who lives in Moor House with ghosts? Does that mean I’m more precocious than principled ?

As a yoga teacher maybe I should choose Pantanjali, the compiler of the Yoga Sutras, or Saraswati, the goddess of wisdom, art, language and music?

Because I’m a woman should it be a woman?

I know a lot of great female teachers and athletes but my pal John was the most talented ski instructor I ever worked with.

He spent a good deal of his career working with children and training others to do the same. One of his jokes I’ll never forget, still gets a roar of approval with a group of 10 or 50 year olds.

“Three moles were trudging in line through an underground tunnel, making their way to Farmer Smith’s cellar, where all kinds of treats were stored.

The first mole said, ‘I smell sugar’.

The second mole said, ‘I smell honey’.

The third mole said ‘All’s I smell is molasses’.”

He taught me the importance of humor in teaching and in learning.

He expanded my appreciation of making the strange familiar and the familiar strange.

He showed me that sometimes the best teachers are not physically the best in their field.

He exemplified a person who was committed to doing and sharing what he loved.

I can’t think of any better qualities in a ski teacher, a yoga teacher, or any teacher.

I can’t think of any better qualities in a human being that would inspire or influence me more.

Well there you have it. Next question?

Namaste- the ice broke today