A pipe burst some very important main water line and all the houses that are served by our utility company have been on a stage 4 water emergency for the last week and a half. Before any repairs, this water leak was gushing 400-gallons of water every minute. All households were required to limit the amount of water used indoors and absolutely no outside watering was allowed. The utilities people wanted to make sure we’d have drinking water while they worked on the repairs.
This part of Texas has been in drought conditions (or extreme flooding emergencies) since I moved back 5 years ago, so I’ve given a lot of thought to how we use water around my house. We have low flow everything, when yellow, we let mellow, and bathing is quick and not every day. Seems good. And yet, I do really enjoy gardening. To me, good gardening and a lovely yard look like an ocean of lush, green, flowering trees and plants. We’ve been slowly reducing the size of lawn, but what’s still there needs watering 3 times a week. I avoid the tropical plants, but the plants I do have can’t survive the 90+ degree heat that we are still getting well into the fall. Several mornings a week, I stand around my garden draining water that is pure enough to drink into the ground around the my beloved plants. Clean, clear water is piped to a faucet at my house and I pour it into the dirt. What a luxury.
I like it. I like watering. I like gardening. I like watching things grow, but I’m reminded with this recent water emergency, that this essential resource is something that deserves my respect, appreciation and mindfulness not just inside my house but in my yard and garden, too. Is liking something a lot enough reason to continue doing it? Or is there something else that can be a foundation for making a decision like this? Something beyond likes and dislikes?
Developing a contemplative practice in which we cultivate self-awareness and spend time in reflection about likes or dislikes is so useful, especially when we are looking to make a change in our habits and let go of something that we do in daily life. When personal preferences are determining our behavior, our actions may be coming from a place that is self-serving or serving some old need or pattern that developed long ago. Instead, we can learn to listen and connect to the bigger, better version of our “Self”. This discernment and the ability to know where our behavior comes from is very useful. It’s this deeper self that provides a better foundation for making decisions and determining our behavior. Knowing the difference takes practice and the ability to direct our thoughts and attention.
There are plenty of drought tolerant plants and trees that grow and bloom in the climate we are in, but I’ll have to learn more, do the work, find a place that sells them or make friends with people who are willing to share their knowledge and maybe baby plants that come up in their yard. I can feel how reluctant I am to let go of the way I’ve been doing things around the yard, but I also have a deep knowing that there’s a better way.