When I moved back in with my parents as ALS took away my independence, I found myself constantly looking out my bedroom window. The view is where as a kid I used to help my parents with our vegetable garden. I remember digging troughs for water, planting squash, cucumbers, tomatoes and eggplants. Great memories as a kid back there. I thought to myself, it would be really cool to set up a bird feeder there. I told my parents and they agreed, and so began the creation of our zen garden.
First step was obviously getting the bird feeder. Mom and dad picked one along with the pole and set it up where I could see in bed. My window had these wooden shutters that made it hard to see out, so I called my buddy Mike to set me up with automatic blinds I could control with my phone. Next mom went to town with succulents and some plants. We added a bird bath, signs and more decorations and I ordered a huge wind chime for ambience. Then I got weird. I was browsing amazon and came across lighted garden gnomes. I started with two, now I have nine haha.
Everyday I would wake up and watch the birds eat, they are crazy and eat a lot. Doves, sparrows, finches, bluejays just to name a few. Two squirrels visit daily, I named them Doc and Virgil. I set up cameras so I could watch more closely, and at night we saw opossums, rats and a cat come through. My zen garden was teeming with life, and growing while changing daily. Until one overcast morning, a hawk staked out on the wall watching my happy world of birds. He didn’t care that I enjoyed my zen garden daily, he was there for an easy meal and was going to mess up my day. So he waited and attacked a sparrow, and literally ate him in my zen garden.
The hawk resembles ALS, and my zen garden is my life. My life was beautiful before ALS, and the hawk came without warning and attacked my zen garden leaving a mess of feathers and bird remains. All the birds left and were afraid to return to my garden. Some time went by, we filled the feeder up and eventually the birds come back. The plants continued to grow and my zen garden was full and beautiful again.
Just like my life, it is still beautiful after ALS. Keep providing the love for your friends and family (food for birds), take care of your plants and add decorations (care for your body and world around you) and you will see the beauty. Yes the hawk can drop in and screw things up, but he can’t take away the beauty of my zen garden. You just have to want to tend to your garden, and I am thankful for my family and care team who tend to me every day.