Yesterday, a landscaper rang our door bell. He offered to rake our yard for $ 65.00 front and back. I can’t thank this stranger enough! He must have been heaven-sent. No, it is not what you may think; I did not hire him. But he reminded me that I had become lazy and dependent. All I wanted to do is pursue the things I love; art, photography, and writing. That’s why the leaves in our yard were still on the ground since the beginning of fall, and our lot had become quite unsightly.
Though, I dislike raking leaves, I finally ordered myself to grab the rake and go to work. The repetitive motion put me into a meditative mood. I had to think of my master’s urging to always be self-sufficient. How I had failed him in this point! I remembered my master’s story of the invisible, selfless servants in China sweeping the stairs of the temple that hundreds of visitors cross every day without ever taking any note of them or their work. Now, I had the opportunity to be that humble servant myself and contribute my work so that someone else won’t have to do it, only that I was raking the lawn instead of sweeping the stairs.
After a while, a neighbor walked by and stopped. We chatted a little and talked about how we all have a love-hate relationship with our trees. In summer we love them for the shade they afford us, and in winter we hate them for shedding their leaves on our lawns. It was nice to be out and connect with this neighbor that I’d never met before.
The sun was shining and the air fresh. I had to rejoice in the fact that I am a healthy and capable person. I can walk and rake and do just about anything I want to do. How much my shoulder tendinitis from a year and a half ago has improved thanks to Anthroposophic treatments from my physician friend! I have so much to be grateful for!
In the midst of the leaf pile, I discovered two pretty leaves. (I am sure there were more, but these two jumped out at me.) Admittedly, I had never seen a black leaf before, probably because of lack of mindfulness and because I always left the raking to someone else.
Suddenly, the dry leaves under my feet called back to my memory this poem my son had to learn by heart for school many years ago. He had a rough time with it and was too young to appreciate poetry. How did this poem go again? Well, I looked it up, and here it is:
What started out as the thought of a dreaded chore, turned into a multifaceted, enjoyable lesson and beautiful afternoon.
2 thoughts on “Meditation While Raking Leaves”
This post brought to mind a poem by an English poet, Laurence Binyon (1869-1943), called ‘The Burning of Leaves’…it’s well worth reading, and the first verse ends with the line “Nothing is certain, only the certain spring.” Binyon, incidentally, was an expert on Chinese and Japanese art :).
Thank you so much for introducing me to Robert Laurence Binyon and for pointing me to this neat poem! I googled it and found it here: http://allpoetry.com/poem/8528567-The_Burning_Of_The_Leaves-by-Robert_Laurence_Binyon. It’s been very nice to exchange poems with you. Thanks again!
With a grateful heart,