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  • Writer's picturekaydee777

Interrogating Nirvana

Updated: Jun 25, 2023

"The present moment never comes to be and it never ceases to be, it is simply our minds that construct the continuity of thoughts we call time. In the present moment is nirvana." Alan Watts

Solstice greetings! Hello summer!

Here in the dusty little town in the northern Chihuahuan desert where I root down and rise up, which could also be construed as the yoga of nurturing the roots and shoots of a garden, I was up before dawn to water. At this time of year, the first few precious, cool hours of my days are reserved for outdoor activities. Meteorologists are predicting a sizzling midsummer for the garden and me.

If other years are anything to go by, most food plants will hunker down and endure around about now, not producing much of anything during these furnace days, before monsoon storms bring relief and mosquitoes.

All the fruit came in from the weeping Santa Rosa plum. This is the first year that this young tree, which doesn't actually do much weeping in spite of the promise on its plant nursery tag, has produced any fruit.

Unfortunately for the birds, not all of whom are in the frame for the birdbath, the tree's situation smack in the center of my kitchen sink view, means I can closely monitor their interest in ripening fruit. Picking these plums today was perhaps a little premature. They are now in a brown paper bag on the kitchen table to, hopefully, ripen and sweeten. It was that or let the birds get them all, since wind keeps blowing the netting off the tree.

A handful of beautiful, painterly Tongue of Fire beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) also came in this morning. This is my first year growing this variety of bean which traces its origins to Tierra del Fuego in South America and is reputed to be a favourite in Italy. The literature claims they are bush beans but my plants are kinda sprawling, neither bushy nor climbing the obliging sunflower "poles" where they are the understory. My plants are showing a decided tendancy to trail their sizeable and beautiful magenta streaked bean pods on the ground where they become vulnerable to rot and predation. Some unknown creature seems to have begun munching on them. So they got picked by apex predator me.

Shelled and steamed, served with avocado and cracked black pepper they make a delicious solstice breakfast. I made an iced almond milk cafe latte for the coffee part of breakfast, using fine organic Colombian beans and a new-to-me black and white thrift store llama mug, for the South American connection and the happy graphic.

Three little stubby carrots were pulled during my dawn garden potterings too, contributing sweet crunch and beta carotene to my first meal of the day.

At this solstice point in the season, half the Inchelium Red heritage garlic has been brought in to cure for a week or two in baskets in the air conditioned cool of the house. While the bulbs are not as big as my first garlic harvest, they are mostly decent sized. The front garden plantings will come in soon.

After curing, besides using this garlic fresh, I will pickle some, dehydrate some and maybe offer a small amount at the farmer's market. I have just finished the last jar of 2022 season pickled garlic and have only a small amount of dehydrated flakes still on hand. Since I first harvested garlic in June 2020, my kitchen has not wanted for garlic in some form or another: fresh, dehydrated, or pickled.

The last time I brought in outside garlic, instead of planting from a portion of my harvest, was November 2019. I am thinking that I might buy new seed garlic stock for planting this autumn. But then again I kinda like the continuity and self sufficiency of growing my own seed, maybe even building my own landrace cultivars, though I hardly bring a skilled or highly focused scientific methodology to the process.

The first lavender came in this solstice morning as well.

It will air dry and then be used in the upcycled vintage embroidery lavender sachets and lavender, buckwheat and rice eye pillows which I offer at the farmers market.

While I was wandering around outback, I noticed that the Tulbaghia (aka wild garlic or society garlic) is blooming again.

At the end of summer I must move this South African native, named for a long ago and far away governor of the colony of the Cape of Good Hope on the southern tip of the African continent. It is being smothered by some rather vigorous USA native Helianthus maximiliani (aka Maximilian sunflowers) who migrated unbidden to the Tulbaghia spot.

I reserve the right to intervene in the territorial wars in this little patch of Chihuahuan desert where I have custodial duties. There's no diplomacy like horticultural diplomacy.

And that, Alan Watts, and anyone else who is interested in the philosophical concept, is how my few hours of interrogating nirvana* in a garden went this solstice morning.

*From the Oxford (online) Dictionary




noun: nirvana

  1. (in Buddhism) a transcendent state in which there is neither suffering, desire, nor sense of self, and the subject is released from the effects of karma and the cycle of death and rebirth. It represents the final goal of Buddhism.

  • another term for moksha.

  • a state of perfect happiness; an ideal or idyllic place.

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