Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bare Root Season

Bare Root Bundles
It's January, and for me, that means "bare root" season. Every year, we scour local nurseries to purchase roses and fruit trees for the garden. In the past, we've bought plenty of varieties: apple, pear, almond, and roses. Stripped of their soil, various trees are sold with a single stem, with roots encased in plastic.

It's a leap of faith, to imagine that such a minimal plant could actually survive and bear fruit later in the year. (For the most part, that faith is rewarded; only one of our bare root attempts didn't take root and grow.)

Bare root planting is a process
This year, the bare root season disappointed us. Many of the trees were already planted in soil. The selection of bare root trees wasn't as varied as in years past. One prominent nursery, famous for its patented roses, had no bare root trees at all: they were all planted.

Fuji apple 
Which leads me to wonder: Have the retail nurseries found that "bare root" plants sell better when the plants are already potted? Do consumers lack confidence with the bare root planting process--soaking, trimming, then planting? We finally found some promising bare root trees and planted them, hoping that in a year or two, there will be Fuji apples from our own mini-orchard.

The entire bare root phenomenon is a metaphor for our yoga process. It's as minimal as possible--a flat surface, bare feet, and time. No fancy or expensive equipment is necessary (of course, you can bring all the equipment you think you need to the practice, and you can spend lots of money on equipment). Our practice is ideally done in bare feet, directly making contact with the earth. And our practice takes time and patience, much as is needed for a plant to take root, grow, and finally produce fruit. Some knowledge is necessary for the success, as is needed for taking a bare root to a productive plant.

Knowing the process ensures success.
Again, much like the "helpful" retailers who have already planted the bare root trees in soil, our practice might need some extra help from an instructor, or from supportive friends. It can be difficult to take that leap of faith and have confidence that all that we need to grow are contact with the earth, bare feet, and time. Nevertheless, that's what our practice is--slow, incremental growth.

Whether we are planting ourselves in an orchard among like-minded people, or we practice in isolation, we will grow.

Imagine yourself in the asana known as "tree pose" with your roots firmly grounded, your arms as main branches, and your fingers actively reaching toward the sun. Breathe. With time and patience, your practice will bear fruit.

Until next week, namaste,

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