Living in a modest apartment means I don’t have a yard.  Having modest friends means I don’t have access to a big vacation house.  So on the night of the Purnima I went to the community garden and attempted to meditate there.  The logic?  It’s next to a police station so I thought it’d be safe to sit alone in the dark….

Well as I found outpolice station is anything but peaceful on a Friday night.  You can’t imagine the raucous that happens there, people shouting, doors slamming, car horns blasting, it’s as if every delinquent comes out like vampires after sunset. So much for a meditative experience. Nonetheless the moon was spectacular.

I sat next to a pile of mulch and tried to enjoy the experience. I did.  The mulch smelled really, really good, wine fermented, clean, romantic – it was surreal to be sitting out there next to the mulch pile, being invisible, quiet, like a dormant animal, or maybe a small statue, under the full moon. I felt abundant.

The moon seemed to be screaming or at least wanting to sing but it was eerily silent.   Speak to me, speak to me, you say, but it just got brighter and floated upwards and upwards into the night.

The next morning, still mesmerized by the look, smell, and feel of the mulch in the garden, I got up a little bit earlier, and went back to the garden.

Out from the bushes comes a lady offering me some produce.  She le to me to a patch of a small plot: “This is our children’s garden.”  Here, take some flowers, some oregano, bay leafs…cherry tomatoes…  “I’m the director of the children’s garden and we have boys and girls between 2 to 4 who planted this.”

Whoa!

Some children did this?!?

The next few days, I got up extra early to enjoy taking a walk in the community garden. I saw morning dews, I saw a deer, and I saw tennis players.

I sat under the trees on top of the picnic tables, from time to time, chuckling…

Out comes her, out of the bushes, the gardener lady. She caught me chuckling to myself.

“Didn’t we meet the other day?” She asked.  Yes, we did meet, I said. She said, “Well, would you like to help water my garden while I’m away next week?”

ARE YOU KIDDING?  Watering?!  We made arrangements, she gave meticulous instructions, and sent a group email to all her lady gardener friends of my whereabouts on her own plot.

She told me: Don’t forget to close the wires…or the deer will get our stuff…that would be terrible!  And, don’t get any water on the man’s plot — he’ll flip out.  Pick everything.  Take whatever you want.  There are at least 20 tomatoes, you should take those.  There’s a big squash underneath the arugula, you’ll have to look for it.  The peppers are not ready yet.  But check on the beans.

***
OK it’s Sunday.  Where do I begin. I’ve been harvesting all weekend. Still the basils are up to my knees! The tomatoes are too ripe: they’ve been left on the vines too long and actually have rotted.   I’ve eaten 4 tomatoes already in this afternoon.  My dear friends M and P will get tomatoes.  My house is literally overflowing with flowers, fruits and vegetables. Tonight, I’ve got to go back to pick some more…tomorrow people at work will get tomatoes, basil, beans, flowers. I’ve got to harvest extra hard tonight. I’m actually panicking a little because there is overflowing abundance of stuff from the garden.

The deer, the butterflies, the spiders, the ladybugs…how did one person get sucked into this!

The greatest irony is I was supposed to water Thursday and Sunday.  We had downpours on Wednesday and Saturday. In other words, I didn’t have to water.

Next Purinma is on Saturday August 13, 2011.

And oh, when someone tells you to pick tomatoes, you PICK TOMATOES. Now is not the time to get sentimental and modest. You gotta pick them ruthlessly. Or, they’ll rot and you’ll have to feed them to the deer and waste perfectly good tomatoes, tomatoes that the gardener planted in early March when it was too cold to get up in the morning.