Happy Fire Monkey Year

From one new year to the next…

May all of us everywhere be blessed, and not least of all our close cousins the monkeys.

New world monkeys, old world monkeys.

May their luck change for the good, and their habitats remain.

May our luck change for the good, and our shared planet be well, and may we have a hand in that.

Or better, our hands off what we don’t need.  Leaving be more to be well.

juvenile-female-Capuchin-monkey from mirror uk

This little sister is a juvenile capuchin, and her picture credit UK Mirror.



Wishing everyone a good 2016!

True goodness

is like water

Water’s good

for everything

it does not compete.

(from Ursula le Guin rendition of the Tao Te Ching Chapter 8)

A conundrum in most spiritual, philosophical and religious traditions, is the question of whether being good for reward, is goodness.

If one’s good deeds and practices are said to lead to heaven, paradise, blessings, good health, release of happy hormones in the brain,  enlightenment, good luck, good karma, fortunate reincarnations, becoming a respected ancestor and suchlike…….. are those deeds and practices not their own reward, both now and in the bigger scheme of things.

It (water) goes right

to the loathsome places,

and so finds the way.

Is it possible to be good?   Is it possible to follow the Way . . . .

The real garden teaching


The fantasy garden was bigger, and full of sun

All its friends used only heritage seeds

Brimming with life

Producing abundance for table food and table flowers


The real garden is small, and in deep shade, nearly always

The sun just a little bit on summer mornings and afternoons even more briefly

In the real garden I plant anything I can buy in the nursery that promises to grow in shade

Regardless of pedigree and organic propriety


The fantasy garden had huge butternuts

And fragrant sweet peas

The real garden is full of moss and clover

Which I am weary to disturb, in case nothing else thrives


The real garden has stinging nettle

Not that I am an expert but I thought it might be and when I pulled it out I was stung

Yes! Grasping nettles

Which in the fantasy garden was going to grow freely among the spinach and

nourish me in nettle soups

Like Milarepa of old


The fantasy garden was rich with my home made compost

In the real garden every time I turn the soil

Fragments of rubble surface – remnants of an old house that was here before

Lucky in the real garden big fat earthworms

Do not snub the damp soil and broken tile fragments


The fantasy garden inspired its neighbours

To take up urban organic micro gardening

The real garden’s neighbours leave their patches fallow and crazy weeds growing

And wonderful spring flowers coming up by themselves

Boslelie and peppermint geranium Spearmint and peace-in-the-home Clover aka suuring Little flowers - too pretty to weed out Kruid of onkruid - who knows Community of hopeful new shadeplants  Shards from the soil Gorgeous queen of the garden all decked out Boslelie - newly planted These curly plants came with the garden - struggling away Happy interesting moss The nettle for the job Precious afternoon sunbeams Neighbour wildflower peaking through the fence Daisies growing wild next door Fence and flowers on the other side

The big dry country


Gravity is the root of grace,
The mainstay of all speed.
A traveler of true means, whatever the day’s pace,
Remembers the provision-van . . . (The Way of Life – Witter Bynner translation)

Our provisions are water, soil, air and seed.

Blessings are rain, and earth worms, and live seeds and air we can breathe freely, wildly.

And the sunlight, waiting to be harvested freely and peacefully.

How to preach the obvious, without preaching.   I don’t know.


Gravity and grace

earth africa nasaGravity is the root of grace,
The mainstay of all speed.

(The way of life, Witter Bynner translation, Chapter 26)

This chapter is about not running away with oneself.  Yet moving with skill as a student of gravity and nature, balance and wonderful speed is possible.  Speed not so much for winning as for wonder.

Watch here . . .


photo credit – NASA