Being fully present in the moment is something I consciously try to do at all times. And being present in the garden, in nature, results in such a sense of well being and connectedness to the world around us that I cannot imagine a day without time spent simply immersing oneself in it. Personally, being in nature, observing what is going on, appreciating the nuances and transitions, centers me in a way not unlike the way prayer or meditation works. It gives me the focus and energy to get on with my day and projects. At the risk of sounding clichéd, it makes me a better person.
Yet, the month of August, bathed in sunshine and wreathed in sunflowers can be a challenge to sit still and take it all in. Summer vacations, preparing for the start of school, grabbing time to make the most of the season often leaves one in a whirl of albeit fun activities but with no opportunities to stop and quite literally smell the roses. We pine for this month all winter long and then, when it is here, we are too caught up in the trappings of what we think we ought to do instead of simply letting ourselves quietly soak in the many delights only August can provide.
Now that the month is coming to an end, I’m determined to hold on to the memories of it. They’ll warm my heart on those days of winter when it feels like summer will never will come. I want to remember the mornings spent watching a young pigeon practicing to fly. From way on top of a white pine, it took brief sorties testing its wings and no doubt, testing its courage. With each attempt it went a wee bit further before returning to its perch to catch its breath and perhaps determine how to do better. Practice, practice, practice.
I want to remember the colors of August. Vivid yellow sunflower faces tracking the sun, plump tomatoes ranging from vermilion to Alizarin red, juicy peaches echoing the hues of the sun that ripened them, melons with flesh so sweet and so coral pink, figs in plummy purple bursting with goodness, skies awash in blues matched only by seas skirting inviting beaches, sap green basil leaves perfuming the very hands that pick them.
I want to remember the sounds of this special month. From the early morning atonal chorus of the birds to the ascending pitch of the cicadas in the sultry hours of the afternoon to, the clicks and the hums of the crickets and bees and finally to the soft whispers of moths and bats as they swoop and circle as dusk darkens the day.
I want to remember the warmth of the month when the skin can feel so hot that a plunge into a pool comes as a shock, the illuminated winks of fireflies keeping me company as I sit with that glass of rosé that goes perfectly with every summer meal, the clove-like fragrance of phlox glowing in moonlight, the soles of bare feet cooled by morning dew as they make their way to pick flowers for the table.
So many joyous memories! Please let me not miss a single one.
Enjoy some images of my August below!
Note: You can read about my latest visit with the children at Mukta Jeevan here.
(c) 2016 Shobha Vanchiswar