Saturday, June 9, 2012

Time is on your side in this one

After the rain cleared this afternoon I walked the lawnmower back and forth across the length, the slope, the width and the curving sides of the large swath of grass we keep short in the midst of the wild fields and woods upstate. As I walked, I noticed my breathing become more textured on the uphills, softer on the downs. I glance at the plantings, the trees, look out for toads or bees in the grass, and take note of the way things are after all the rain we've had lately. We recently divided and replanted a great many of our irises and lilies in order to remove an invasive ground cover and to give each of these beautiful flowering stalks more air and light. Of all these iris almost none have bloomed in this, their special moment. I checked out the few blooming on short stalks and kept walking. Last year that bed was a jaw-dropping mass of beauty. This year there are short leaf spears grass-like leaves, constant weeding, and no blooms to speak of. The jury is still out on the lilies, whose time is not yet, but they look young and undeveloped compared to those we did not disturb.

It can take several seasons for a plant to build the stamina and connection to the earth that it needs to send out those miraculous blooms that thrill us. Even after developing a thick and luscious clump of stalks full of buds, those stalks can be chomped by a deer, or broken by the weight of the rain on the first open petals. Yet the roots and leaves continue to do their part to repair and rebuild, to continue the trajectory and after a dormant winter, will try again for the blooms that help create their seeds. Even lilies and iris that spread primarily by their roots are driven to produce those stark and beautiful seed pods that shake out their dried seeds in the winter winds. It is even more dramatic with the little seeds I planted in the vegetable garden that start with just two fragile leaves, then begin to send up the leaves that are characteristic of their species. It takes all season for some to flower, fruit and ripen, where some produce delicious edible leaves almost right away.

So too with a yoga practice. Even if you were once a magnificent blooming clump, when you start to establish a new practice, it takes time. The seeds you plant are of all types - those that produce something right away and those that may take years to evolve into where they are those eloquent blooms. With yoga, time is always on your side. No matter what your age or your original set of conditions, the practice picks up right there and no matter what the external conditions might be, there are ways to continue growth and deepen your practice. Perhaps the joy of seeing those small immature clumps of not-quite-ready-to-bloom iris is what I feel every time I approach my practice. These moments on the mat, like those short green shoots, are full of possibilities and part of the process of realizing who I am.

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