An artist shares her experiences on creatively developing, tending to and nurturing her garden as spiritual sanctuary for herself, her friends and family. Gail Allen contributes her thoughts on creating a sacred space as an oasis for soothing your soul in today's busy world, enticing your senses and and fostering your own personal growth

Friday, September 23, 2011

Happy Fall in the Garden and The Road Not Taken

Happy Fall in the Garden!

Autumn Pathway painting by Gail M. Allen
The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

"Grow what you love. 
The love will keep it growing."  by Emilie Barnes

Gardening is part of your soul. Like music, dance and painting, it is your soul's innermost expression. This spring as my gardens flourished, the rains brought a new crop of invaders. Weeds like we have never before seen … not just wildflowers that had seeded, but strange deadly weeds which  began to take over and get ahead of our maintanence capabilities. One of those weeds has spiny thorn-like barbs that turn your skin burning, hot, itchy and very red - somewhat like the feeling in your mouth when you are eating a habanero chile pepper.

 Usually I can tell what my soul is needing by the wildflowers that appear all around our home. An old sage of a gardening friend once told me that the herbs and wildflowers that are invading our gardens are exactly the homeopathic remedies we need for the maladies in our lives. If we pay attention to this, we can resolve the innate issues we are dealing with at the time.

"Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul." 
Luther Burbank

I was too busy to notice, but the signs were there. The symptoms of Lyme Disease were once again beginning their assault on my body, as I battled the weeds and otherwise stayed busy with my painting and family commitments - too busy to pay attention to my own body's invaders. 

Before long there was no avoiding it, the symptoms had taken hold and done their damage. I began the long road of fighting this horrendous disease once again.  We decided no matter what the outcome, it was time to fulfill a lifelong dream, to help nourish all of our souls during these crazy times. And so our family embarked on a long awaited vacation to the West Coast and Yosemite National Park during this past summer - a trip I have always held dear to my heart. It was beautiful, breathtaking and regenerating. At times, I could only walk with my cane, but in the end we had all had a wonderful time! 

Although this summer I did not get to write much on this blog, I did want to take the time to mention that a garden, like our own body, is usually able to regenerate after neglect, even when you need to let it go for awhile. And then again, there is a larger, more beautiful garden we all share that surrounds us in our cities, parks, and countryside that we can get the same soulful fulfillment from, on a daily basis - if we simply open our hearts and eyes to the beauty of the natural gardens nature has given us, which we interact with daily. 

Anyone's life truly lived consists of work, sunshine, exercise, soap, plenty of fresh air, and a happy contented spirit. 
Lilly Langtry 

Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead. 
Louisa May Alcott

May you have a great Fall season in your garden…