Impermanence – This Week’s Mindfulness Focus Word

Impermanence - Dandelion Seeds



Impermanence is the focus word this week, inspired by the loss of my tiny pears and apples that were just forming on trees. I was relieved two weeks ago when they made it through a severe Denver cold snap. And I wrongly assumed we were over the worst of the cold.

During the previous storm, I had time to wrap everything in frost cloth. This time it was impossible as I was out of town for training.  I did my best to cover plants before I left; tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants are encased in wall o waters or covered with garden fabric. But I did not have time to re-wrap my dwarf pear and espalier apple. When I got home, all the tiny pears had disappeared…either blown or frozen off. And many of the tiny apples have shriveled.  Sigh.  Compared to Pennsylvania, Colorado is a very hard place to garden.

Impermanence is Not Just About Gardens 

One moment the trees had tiny fruit. The next moment they did not.  But the transitory nature of things relates to all of our lives, not just gardens hit by freezing temperatures.  What trick of the mind lulls us into thinking this moment will somehow last unchanging into the infinite future? We know on one level that it is not true, but we often act otherwise.  It seems easy to be forgetful about the temporary nature of our lives and everything we do.

Tuning into the ephemeral nature of everything allows us to be in awe of each moment.  I am not using the word “awe” lightly. If we truly are mindful of this changing kaleidoscope of experiences  that is our life than how can we not be in awe? From tiny pears forming on trees to the deep connections we have with others, it’s all pretty amazing…but only if we stop and pay attention.  And so this week I will be cultivating a more focused awareness of  impermanence.


Kale and Fava Beans Don’t Mind a Little Cold

This is week 21 of my mindfulness focus word experiment. For more information on focus words  click here.

More on Impermanence

“Sunrise doesn’t last all morning.  A cloud burst doesn’t last all day.”  From All Things Must Pass, George Harrison

The Painful Beauty of Impermanence, by Leo Babauta


  1. Debra MacKillop
    May 21, 2017

    I am so sorry Joann. The fruit “babies” were so adorable. This last storm was crazy in the unexpectedness of it and how it brought everything, heavy wet snow and freezing temps, wind. I was scrambling with my new garden and working too. BUT, don’t ever hesitate to contact me and maybe I can go over and help. I saw what you did with the frost cloth and fruit and I could do that, or anything else you needed with your instruction. I would be so happy to do that.

    • Joann Calabrese
      May 21, 2017

      Yes, I was sad to lose them, but it seems to be the way of gardening in Colorado….don’t be too attached to anything because it can be gone pretty quickly.


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