plants on deck

The guide

Slow pleasures in 100 words
RE | Issue 17 | 2020



'Each thought, each action in the sunlight of awareness becomes sacred' (THICH NHAT HANH)





The sun is rising. The sky holds beautiful reds, so stunning. Its depth, its realities, its subtleties won't be caught by photography. It holds hope. The Pranayama class requires preparation. The laying out of the mat. The folding of the towels and blanket for support. The house is still. This is my time. There are no demands. No work. No children. No pressures. All I am doing is for me and I have no reason to feel guilty for this time of preparation. I am alone. Not organising others, just preparing for calm, and breathing. My teachers will guide me.  Kathryn van Gelder, Sydney





At last, I am visiting my parents, enjoying their garden, so much lovelier than our city balcony. Pizza is suggested for dinner, as this is easy, fast. Or, I suggest, I could make the pizzas myself. There is nothing quite like it, preparing your own dough from scratch, kneading the dough until it takes on the perfect consistency, adding water and flour until it feels soft, airy and light. Waiting for it to rise to more than two times its original size, knowing that the pizza that you have made is going to taste delicious. This is a true pleasure. Tamara Ubink, Amsterdam





I never liked doing the dishes. Not, that is, until I took up Zen and read Thich Nhat Hanh on the practice of putting mindfulness and meditation into every daily act. Now, when I wash my dishes, rather than rushing through them to move on to something else, I take pleasure in the task, the feeling of water and soap, the meticulous washing and rinsing of each item. It takes a little while longer, but I shall have meditated without realising it. Some monks have become enlightened not through their reading and seated meditation but through sweeping the monastery floor. Tara Pichardo-Angadi, Paris




I grow flowers, herbs, microgreens. I love watching my plants grow over time, and photographing them. I love the architecture of flowers. My garden reminds me of the coral gardens I’ve seen whilst diving and that I miss so dearlythe colours, the structures, the movement of life within and over the reef. The elements can dramatically shape and shift our seas. I love watching new forms emerge in my garden. The fluorescent orange of trailing Nasturtium. The explosion of trumpet-like Surfinia petunias. Small, powdery bursts of violet Nemesia. Crimson ice plants whose petals open and close with the sun. Louise Nelson, London



First published in RE: issue 17 (2020). Photograph by Louise Nelson.