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
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
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
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.