Niskriya discovers Nature while taking care of a garden.
Last summer, for two months, I lived in a little hut at one end of a big garden and, with it, I had taken on the task of watering its plants and trees. I was a bit nervous at first because the job looked complicated, at least for someone without the slightest gardening experience like me; it started around 9 am and took 1 to 2 hours. So here I was every morning in my boots like a cowgirl ready for the Far West, holding onto a long yellow hose.
The garden is vast and beautiful with different sections, each one with its own needs: trees, lettuce, flowers, potatoes, pumpkins, greens. With a little help from knowledgeable friends I had taken notes and put up signs to get to know the plants by their names and to remember how often to water them; the bush with the red flowers that look like funnels is called Hibiscus, the plant with the fine, long, light green leaves at the front stairs wants a lot of water, the potatoes need water every day, the tomatoes also, the roses not so much. What to do? I was born and raised in the center of a big city, and until recently my only reference to nature was the beach and nothing but the beach…
Soon though I started to relax. I began to pay attention to how hot the day was and figured out how much water the plants needed. Then I became acquainted with them individually and also noticed ‘things’ about them: They seemed different after I had watered them! A little more refreshed, more shiny, more ‘pretty’. Of course, for an experienced gardener or for someone living surrounded by a garden all the time that would have been no big deal. But for me something had changed; I became interested in plants, curious about them.
One month had passed and every day I was looking forward to my ‘morning meditation’. My life was centered around the garden and my whole day’s schedule had to weave around my watering plan.
One hot morning, at the beginning of the second month there, I woke up feeling angry and sad. The day before I had received a critique about a play I had written; the committee had judged my script as naïve, New Age-ey and sloppy. I did not want to speak to anyone and was grateful that I had something that would keep me busy and distract me from the weight I was carrying inside. My whole focus was with the plants. When I was almost finished with the watering I noticed a wave of energy come my way. It surrounded my body like an embrace. I felt held, like ‘something’ loved me. I looked around and saw all the plants and trees shine; water drops like diamonds vibrating on their leaves and petals. Maybe it was my imagination or maybe I was dramatizing Osho’s book title ‘And the Flowers Showered’, but it seemed to me as if the plants were bowing towards me! Puzzled I just stood there, speechless. What a delight! All the stories I had heard about the magic of nature came to mind. It was another whole world right out there, in front of my eyes, blooming and pouring love, just for me!
This continued day after day – like a love affair. One morning the small geranium plant near the stairs that takes you to the salad area, caught my eye. Oh, it was so so beautiful; I couldn’t take my eyes off it. There is nothing special about this plant, its leaves or its flowers; it’s a totally ordinary scarlet geranium. I stepped closer… then discovered that what was different was the light. The geranium was shining in its own light – that made it so special, so beautiful. Even the purple roses in full blossom nearby seemed insignificant. I bowed down towards the geranium, touched it softly, afraid to damage it, and decided to ‘adopt’ it. She was going to become my twin sister. From then on we started to relate with each other in a more personal way and, when I moved home, I took her light with me.
A few days afterwards, a friend came to visit me in my little hut. The hut looks like a tree house but it has its base on the ground. While we sat on the porch he showed me a healing technique and as he was guiding me through the process, suddenly little creatures appeared. Gosh! Each tree, each plant – even the tiniest ones – had a little creature dwelling on them, and inside them. They looked like humans, but were not; rather a mixture of human, animal, reptile and insect. Was I hallucinating? Never before had I had such an experience, neither with drugs nor with alcohol! I was blown away. Were these creatures the spirits of the plants? The Nature Devas? Suddenly, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” made sense! Puck standing there, in front of my wondering eyes. I wanted to share the experience with my friend, but the moment I started to speak everything disappeared. I then closed my eyes and went inside myself. There they were again, the whole gang. It felt as if I were drunk but I was also afraid of going mad; I decided I was drunk – and not mad – and allowed the moment to be as it was: Perfect!
What a privilege it was to be given the opportunity to reach their world! What a blessing! My heart was fully immersed, ‘in love’ with this world I had never known before!
Thank you, beautiful creatures, for opening the door for me to the world of Nature. I now know that out there between the trees and the flowers, the plants and the bushes, there is something so unique and beautiful that only drunk hearts can see.
I am ready for more!
Niskriya (aka Elena Kazantzidi) grew up in Thessaloniki, Greece, studied cinema at the University of Paris VII and worked as a script writer and film director in Athens. She has written four screen plays for short and two for full-length films. She became a sannyasin in 2005, studied Voicing with Pratibha, Dance with Japanese Budo Dancer Sumako Koseki and Theatre with the Balinese actor Tapa Sudana. She now gives Voice sessions and dance workshops in Greece: Lesvos, Athens, Corfu. She has also worked in Bulgaria, India, England and Germany.
Illustration: ‘Magic of Nature’ from the set of cards ‘Healing with the Fairies’ by Doreen Virtue PhD