These are words we practice every time we garden. We recycle plants, woody debris and other materials to create compost. We reduce the need to use fossil fuels to produce and transport food by growing our own. We reuse our tools by rebuilding them or create interesting garden art when they have broken.
Look at this old garden rake. Too many years of raking leaves off asphalt have rubbed the curved part of tines completely off. It doesn’t rake leaves very well anymore but it still fulfills a purpose. I use this rake for pulling debris off my gravel paths. It is also useful for dislodging small weed seedlings and generally disturbs the surface to prevent weeds from germinating into the quarter minus gravel. And, because the tines are flat and spread far apart, the gravel rolls along the path and falls out before it can collect into piles.
I also like the way it creates beautiful grooves in the gravel, just like a sand and stone Japanese garden.
Gardens of raked sand are referred to as karesansui. The Portland Japanese Garden states that:
“this style of garden was not meant for meditation (zazen), but more for contemplation. Care of the garden is part of the monk’s practice, as is every other action in their lives. For those who interpret these gardens as vehicles for contemplation, they may offer a cosmic view of the universe represented in sand and stone.
I find the action of grooming my gravel paths very soothing. Who would have thought that a simple and worn out garden rake could offer a “cosmic view of the universe”?