Leeks and Curly Parsley, Pollinated by a Black Swallowtail

During yet another bout of insomnia worrying about pain I found myself reading a quote online from Pema Chodron’s book When Things Fall Apart, but I could not find my copy of the book. In the morning I eventually found it after looking at my other blog where I’d talked about buying it to make sure I did buy it and seeing the colour of the cover.

Since I couldn’t find it last night I opened up The Wisdom of No Escape at 6 a.m. and found a gem of awareness about the precision of feeling the breath go out when breathing during meditation. I never really thought about it, but after you let your breath out, there is a pause before respiration starts again with an in-breath. And during that pause which lasts maybe an eighth or a quarter of a second there is letting go. It all just goes out with the breath and during that pause, there is this soft space, this gap, and you can see letting go.

Brief, but such clarity, so that was my lesson last night. Today I found Pema Chodron’s book The Wisdom of No Escape, so I’ll read a bit of that. Something important is trying to get my attention, something about pain and suffering.



This is from a set of six postcard books that I call my Botanical Postcard Oracle. The artist, Helen Buttfield, has taken old engravings of plants and paired them with her own drawings of attendant plants and insects.

Leeks remind me of making homemade soup as they make the best base for soup, and curly parsley adds flavour to soups but is most often used as a garnish as it seems prettier than the flat-leaved variety. Black Swallowtails have two broods annually, so the postcard makes me think of nourishment and self-care and the idea that it’s never too late, there’s time for another brood this year.

I suppose the other obvious correlation is that pain makes you a better person, the experience of it, of sitting with it, feeling it. Pain is like other illnesses, it leaves you cut off from life, feeling out of it, in a bubble, unable to participate. That’s still an experience, a way to move toward something else.

You feel boiled in pain, make soup, and then add the garnish, then fly off to breed again, birthing.

Leeks are chatty fellows, eh?




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