While there have been any number of books and/or people using their garden and gardening experiences as a metaphor (for life or whatever story they want to tell us), this was my first reading of one using those experiences to teach Zen Buddhism. It works, though.
Plant Seed, Pull Weed (subtitle Nurturing the Garden of Your Life) by Geri Larkin is entertaining and thought provoking...and maybe even life changing. The gentle teaching (maybe we can call it sharing) of principles for living a better life are wrapped in wonderful stories from Ms. Larkin's own experiences and those of legendary Buddhist guides.
Her sense of humor shines in the writing and keeps a light tone. Pleasant surprises were the two recipes. I wasn't expecting them at all but I'm intrigued. Stir-Fried Dandelions and Skillet Blackberry Cobbler will certainly get a try out here.
This isn't a how-to book for gardening (there are lots of those already out there) but more of a how-to-find-joy-in-every-day-happenings. Mostly set in gardening situations, we gardeners will relate easier than we might to someone who just tapped us on the shoulder and said, "Let me share some Zen with you."
While I'm pulling those weeds (figuratively and literally), I think I may just look at them differently in the future. I did feel (this is only good, I suppose) that the book ended before I was ready. I kept turning pages thinking there was surely another chapter. There isn't, but there is a list of ten garden/nature books Ms. Larkin loves and that she feels convey a "sweet feeling that life filled with small doings can bring." Some I'm familiar with...one I recall having a hard time getting through (I think I gave up on it....maybe I'll give it another try). But, hey, I always like referrals of great gardening books.
I do have two questions for the author: 1) Did you get the $5k for the roof and 2) Who were the other six senators who signed the letter supporting Wangari Maathai?
And one comment: I'm all for planting trees and trust that your gifts are appropriate and wanted. I think just as important are trees that are planted in welcoming settings. My family just rolls their eyes when we're out in the car and I spy some of those trees (you know them....the one that's going to get huge planted right beside a house...the trees planted next to a fence with no room to grow...or those that are planted on property lines (those roots don't stay on one side...). I've made my share of mistakes, maybe more, and don't wish them on others...I've also had my share, maybe more, of heartburn from the mistakes of others.
Well, okay, I'll still go to sleep tonight anyway whether I know these answers. Just kidding around. In all seriousness, this book was a delightful read and I'm working on finding that joy. Some days, it isn't even work....now, that's progress.