Inner Mind


November 2012

Earth Time

Dear Friends,

It is good to come to the season of the short days and long nights. The full moon in the clear sky of the other night illuminated the landscape quite magically.

Plants are slowing down in their growing, many withdrawing their lifeforce to their roots, letting the weather and whoever take care of the bloomstalks and seeds.

I have had some time to reflect on my seasonal gardening work, to try to put into words my gradually dawning perceptions about plant consciousness.
I have been thinking about what I call Earth Time as distinguished from the way humans normally engage with time. Earth Time defines itself in the seasonal changes.
The plant beings have amazing adaptability to this.

My first insight into this came as I was walking through the woods to the lake for a swim in the midst of a hot dry spell in the middle of this past summer.  I was walking, just enjoying the woods, vaguely wondering how the plants perceive the dryness.  Are the native forest plants withered by it the same way my garden vegetables are?
Immediately, there was an insight about plant perspective.
This is what I understood.
No, they are not.
Plants do not perceive time the way that humans normally do, and yet there are lots of human stories about "warps" in time, real experiences as well as fanciful imaginings, famous stories.  But I digress.
During my walk through the woods, the plant spokesperson gave me a picture in my mind that I can only describe as:  the plants were taking a nap.  They knew when rain was next coming, they had no worries about lack of water, this was not an interminable dryness to them.  They slowed down the flow of their juices and their efforts at growing, keeping stable and napping, as it were.  There was nothing stressed out or difficult about it.  They were still their happy, healthy selves, perfectly adapting to the weather.

This past month I have been stripping sod off the field to create more garden space.  I cut through the plant roots with my shovel, flip over the shovel width square section of sod, chop at the underside with my shovel to loosen rocks and soil, then take the piece by hand and shake out as much good soil as I can.  The roots and mowed greens then get composted and the bare ground gets a second dig to take out the larger deeper roots and rocks.
It is a process.
It takes a lot of human time to do this.
For me, it is play and therapy and a cardiovascular workout as well as an excuse to be outside with the plant worlds.
It is also an amazing oportunity to experience Earth Time.
Again, the insight came as an ineffable picture or vision,
that I can do little justice to with words.
I was seeing the seasonal cycle of the plant, with all the plant growth stages simultaneously there at once.  I was seeing the land as it was ten years ago and 100 years ago and next year and a century hence.  There will still be fall and winter and summer and spring.  The native plants will still be here along with whichever of the immigrant plants adapt and naturalize.  The wind will still blow through the trees singing its songs, doing its pruning and strengthening work.  Hopefully, there will be human hands playing in this soil, just as I played in soil lifetimes and centuries ago.  In Earth Time, human concerns are such a small part of All there is.  Beings transition from state to state much more graciously than we humans are used to doing.

Looking at the human picture from Earth time,
situations that may feel stressful and challenging
to a simple human mind immersed in living and experiencing them, feel much more gentle.