Let’s get something straight right from the start. What is a fool? The informal use of the term refers to a person with a talent or enthusiasm for a certain activity. Any gardening fools reading this? Great. I thought so. Welcome.
I decided to see what information I might find online about good reasons to sit when gardening. The words “why sit to garden” in a search procured the following results:
- Fool’s Garden Lyrics
- Why sit and answer the phone all day?
- Why do people sit on the floor in a gurdwara?
- What tree did Buddha sit under?
- Why not sit back and let —- Landscaping take care of your garden?
At first glance, it appears a second search is in order. Ha! but wait. Perhaps I have found answers, it is just that they are not what I expected. I think we need to ponder these results. Let’s begin with the Buddha.
We can all understand that using a garden seat helps relieve stress on the back and knees. This takes care of the body. The garden, as you know, also affects the mind and spirit. The moment we arrive on the edge of the garden, the moment we pull a tool from the pocket of the garden seat, the whole person begins to breathe and live to the rhythm of the garden.
Now, the question “What tree did the Buddha sit under?” points to deeper soul-searching. Does it really matter under what tree the Buddha chose to sit? Did he choose the location? Perhaps it was the only tree in sight on a hot day and he merely gravitated toward the only oasis of shade. The point is that the Buddha sat down and he would have sat down on a garden seat had one been available, but he would not have pondered what sort of seat it was even if it had been completely out-of-place with his particular time-line.
Thus we sit in the garden because our surroundings demand a pause. It defeats the purpose to sit in the garden as we might sit at the keyboard, our minds churning over scenario upon scenario regarding what to do, how to begin, how to respond to an old confrontation, what to eat for dinner and when to go home. We sit in the garden and work in silence, and this is home.
The lyrics of the Fool’s Garden song suggest: “Yesterday you told me ’bout the blue blue sky, And all that I can see is just another lemon-tree, And I wonder, wonder.” Again, let what was heard or said yesterday remain there, in the past. All there is now is a lemon tree, or a great big oak, or an apple tree, or no tree at all depending on the circumstances around your garden. We sit in the garden to finally realize that the garden is all there is, as though the garden seat were the vehicle that brought us there and as it stopped in this particular spot, so did time stop. We sit in the garden and wonder without asking questions and without making up answers.
What items do you bring to the garden in the pockets around your garden seat? In addition to a few essential gardening tools, I recommend a note pad to draw or to jot down epiphanies (or dreams if you dozed off), a bottle of water, treats for the dog, fruit and a granola bar. Leave the phone inside the house. Why sit and answer the phone all day when you can sit in the garden and talk with the flowers and bees and with a gentle stroke of your hand tell the tomato that it brings you joy?
Why do people sit on the floor in a gurdwara? A gurdwara is the place of worship for Sikhs. It means “gateway to the guru.” Sitting on the floor, before the guru, is an expression of humility. Sitting as a group before the guru brings people to the same level, it reminds them that they are equals. Though we are not consciously aware of this, it is possible that we sit in the garden because gardening is an act of humility. When all gardeners walk through the gates of their gardens, even if it is an imaginary gate, they come to gardening as one; they are equals, they have left the cares of their respective lives and the customs of their respective cultures at the gate and now sit in the garden as one. Not all garden seats look the same and not all gardens have trees, but all gardeners sit in the garden with the same feeling of being grounded, at last.
Why not sit back and let a landscaping company take care of your garden? Because then you would not get to sit in the garden as the gardener.