Dreaming of the miracle that is you.

Last month, I had one of the most vivid dreams I’ve experienced in years. The background to this dream is that here at home, we have a compost heap. And a month ago, on top of the compost there were old apples from a tree in the garden and wasps feasting.

In the dream, I saw the same compost heap but it was covered with old blankets. And while I didn’t know why the blankets were there, I did know that somehow I had to uncover it, without sending the wasps into a frenzy. Apprehensive but determined to do it, I took a deep breath and walked purposefully down the garden path.

Very quietly, gently, firmly, I took hold of one corner of one of the blanket and began to peel it away. And as I did, I heard a sudden fluttering of insects wings. I flinched. Turned away with my eyes tightly shut, expecting at any second to be stung. But it didn’t happen, the fluttering stop, I couldn’t hear any furious buzzing. So very slowly I turned back to the heap and was rendered speechless by what I discovered. For the compost – and all the wasps – had disappeared, and instead there was a clear surface made of dark shiny wood and it was completely covered with butterflies. Hundreds of them.

But these weren’t ordinary butterflies. While they were as ethereal and ephemeral as butterflies, shared the same delicate structure and were the same size, these little creatures represented every animal on earth. A miniature ark. As they fluttered one by one (rather than two by two), my eyes alighted on a tiny giraffe, a tiny elephant, a tiny lion, a tiny wolf, a tiny buffalo. All butterfly-like. Down the back of the garden on a wooden stage.

I was delighted. I felt lit up. And still felt that way when I awoke. I don’t always write my dreams down, but I did with this one and it has lingered during these past 4 weeks.

Last night, before I went to sleep, I came across a TED talk by cinematographer Louie Schwartzberg on the hidden beauty of pollination. You will find it below. Please, watch it before you leave. It’s only 7 minutes.

Today, walking home from a conversation about death with a group of wonderful people (it sounds grim, but was far from it) I found myself thinking about how miraculous life is. Recently I watched a presentation (online) given by one of my heroes, Sir Ken Robinson. In it, he suggests (and you can tell he really does find this miraculous) that we all just stop for a moment and consider how many people had to connect, down through the generations, in order for each one of us to be here. Think about your own family tree, how many people had to meet in order for you to be here.

This past month, I’ve found myself quite fascinated by quantum physics, quantum biology, astrophysics and astronomy. And so this evening, I’ve been thinking about how miraculous it is that I am, you are, not only a part of a family tree, but a part of this tree of life. If you consider the universe (I’ll admit that’s easier said than done) and imagine yourself on its outer most edge, then zoom in through space to this pale blue dot of a planet, home to an estimated 11 million species and 6.9 billion humans and the stage for a 4.55 billion year history of life on earth, how mind-bogglingly, goosebumpingly, light-a-fire-in-your-belly miraculous it is that you are here. You. Are. Alive.

Sit with that for a moment. The miracle that is you. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Feel it. In your body, in your mind, in your heart. In your soul.

How does it feel?

Let me know, I’d love to hear from you.


The rose bug rescue

Just a quick post tonight, as I’m fighting off a bug and need to put my head on the pillow earlier than the usual midnight.

Speaking of bugs… The roses are in full bloom in the garden. Arranging some in a vase this morning, I discovered that one flower in particular appeared to be occupied by small insects. I’m new to gardening, so I have no idea what kind of insects they were (still are, I hope) although I do know they’re not aphids.

I was apologetic to the first few that crawled out of the petals, but when the whole family appeared, I was mortified. An entire extended family of bugs, senior and junior, shot out of rose.

What should have been 5 minutes of gathering a few roses from the garden turned into a half hour rescue mission. I placed them carefully, or in some cases shook them off the Telecom bill which served as the rescue vehicle, back onto the same rose bush.

As I’ve said, I can’t identify them for you (they certainly didn’t stop for introductions), perhaps they’ve been eating the few aphids I did spot on the beautiful pale pink rose. Whatever service they perform in this eco-system, I’m sure they do a fine job and I hope they’re settling into their new home.

If anyone can identify this insect, please let me know!

Finding comfort in a young tree

Today, in the wake of hearing David Suzuki talk last night, I’ve been aware of myself feeling a very low level yet lingering feeling of discomfort. His words were challenging. His message wasn’t a particularly hopeful one and yet I’ve been thinking about it on and off all day. In particular, about the extraordinary ability of foresight we have as human beings. And how at arguably well past the 11th hour, we are turning our back on the very strategy that has allowed us to flourish.

As human beings, isn’t it so often a feeling of discomfort that motivates us to change?… I’m not going to even try and elaborate at 1am on Saturday morning. If I’m being really honest, tonight, all I want to do is take off this very light but prickly robe of discomfort, hang it up in the wardrobe and replace it with one that feels reassuring. And I have just found comfort in an unexpected place.

Uploading photographs onto my laptop, I’ve found one I took yesterday of a very young tree tree growing in Wellington’s botanical gardens. I find enormous comfort in the way this little plant rooted firmly in the earth, is getting on with growing. Bathed in sunlight, surrounded by trees of different shapes and sizes, with plenty of space to grow, it is quietly thriving and I can almost hear it tell me to simply feel the earth beneath my feet, breathe deeply and and together we can dream a bright and brilliant future into being.

Packaging, nature’s way.

The humble broad or fava bean, or vicia faba if we’re being formal, was on the menu this evening.

As I sat in the garden, shelling the market fresh beans, I was struck by the brilliance with which Nature carries out the function of packaging. Little bright green beans nestled into soft spongey material inside a much harder shell, which then becomes food for all those busy little organisms in my compost heap. Effective, efficient AND beautiful. Awesome.

By the way, a couple ended up in the garden, so if I wake up tomorrow and find a giant beanstalk outside my window, the next post may not be for a while. Fee-fi-fo-fum!...