"There isn't a tree in the world that the wind hasn't shaken."
I first encountered this Hindu proverb in 2015. I had travelled to Southwestern India to live a month in a one room grass hut on the beach of the Arabian Sea, studying and practicing yogic philosophies and learning to unwind. It was in this attempt to discover life's greater meaning, when its heft was placed upon me by my yoga teacher. Hearing those words just weeks after my relocation to Los Angeles from New York, I must admit their poignancy fell on my deaf ears. Island life on Manhattan can predispose one to an attitude that there isn't really an existence beyond the granite and concrete of one the world's most diverse and exciting anything-is-possible, go-go-go cities.
Despite the exciting work that had for years transported me around the globe to meet clients and locals in cosmopolitan and romantic locales on behalf of Cartier Jewelers, there was something about the epicenter that is New York that made me forget I was part of a greater existence -- one that connected me to the rest of the world by more than just airline miles and passport stamps. Moving to our great country's other coast and its perpetual 78-degree perfection didn't help. A month with an open-air bathroom on a beach where cows roamed free, the five senses were constantly stimulated, and the 104 degree balm guiding my 5 hours of daily yoga with a humid, invisible hand pushed the needle to enlightenment, but only slightly.
It has taken five years of just plain LIFE -- a new career, new city, and now a new baby culminating in a year for the record books for those proverbial words to finally strike meaning. 2020 and all its curveballs, tumult, uncertainty and headlines has brought me back to this proverb, and this time I am ready for its comfort. "There isn't a tree in this world that the wind hasn't shaken." Adversity exists for us all; we are all trees in the same forest being challenged by life's pervasive gusts. We can't escape them; we shouldn't try. Without the wind, how would we know our branches are capable of bending so as not to break? Without the wind, when do we hold tighter to ourselves what we don't want to blow away?
The winds will always be, but they do eventually change, taking with them the unnecessary dust, leaving behind only what is solid and strong. No matter the pandemic, political or civil unrest, I have taken time to recognize the commonalities that connect us all even as social-distancing and stay at home orders can make us feel as if our isolation disconnects and divides us further. Being shaken by the wind only brings me back to what really matters and what I have chosen to hold close -- my family and friends, my health, my humanity, and my community. The friends and community I have made here at the Gardens are solid and strong, and I am fortunate to weather the storm with you all. Like many, I am not sad to see 2020 entering its final quarter; however, with this new autumn season upon us, I hope the lessons of 2020's gale-force winds remain with me into 2021 and beyond.
Post by Keeley Smith
Vice-President of the Friends of Robinson Gardens
Below is a delicious recipe from Friends of Robinson Gardens board member Katie Marsano.
I like simple desserts that showcase the ingredients -- in this case, the fruit. The crunch of the mixed nuts combines well with the delicate texture of the peaches. You can prepare everything ahead of time and assemble the dish in just a few minutes. Just be sure not to add the nuts too early as the juice from the peaches will soften them. You can serve this with a little goat cheese for a more unusual cheese course.
- 8 medium yellow freestone peaches - sliced into thin disks
- 1/2 cup honey roasted almonds - chopped
- 1/3 cup pistachios - chopped
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste, pure vanilla extract or seeds from 1 vanilla bean
- Black pepper
- Place the sliced peaches on a serving plate
- In a small bowl, mix together the almonds and pistachios. Spoon a little of the nut mixture between the peach slices
- Combine the pomegranate molasses, honey and vanilla in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Drizzle the mixture over the peaches. Top with a few grinds of black pepper and serve immediately.
This week we can all enjoy these photos from Kerstin Royce's lovely garden.