Thursday, April 13, 2017

abundance is what grows wild and free

I wanted flowers to fill the empty vase on the counter. This felt especially important since my move from a small, updated guest room to the back cottage. The space feels empty and impersonal, furnished with a few old, mismatched pieces. Hooks and nails jut from the wall wear past inhabitants might have hung a painting or a framed photograph -- but I had none of these to add. My first day, I opened all the cabinets to take stock of what was available and what I might need. In one of them was that vase, which I pulled out and set on the counter. I would find flowers.

The green grocer I sometimes visit sells bouquets, and there are stands I've seen with buckets of flowers for sale. But I live in a literal garden. Surely I could cut something from what's already here? Tom is the gardener, and a self-appointed Swahili coach. I approached him as he re-potted a red stalky thing and bumbled through our typical greetings. Then I asked, can I cut flowers to fill my vase? He laughed, not understanding at first why I was asking. I told him I didn't want to ruin any of the plants or cut at something I shouldn't take.

He laughed again. They are all wild, he said. You take what you want. To him, I realized, nobody owns what grows freely. His job is only to cultivate what's here.

I went for my scissors and the vase, looking around for something that would fit. Only a few cuts and it was filled with green leaves and a few purple flowers. I once thought abundance meant knowing I could spend money on things like flowers, and perhaps that lesson is an important one to understanding the concept. You can buy and not be afraid. And yet now, having been invited to find all that I needed from what's around me, for free, and so simply, I realized there's more to abundance than buying. There's also recognizing what you have around you and seeing that it's more than enough.

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