Most days here in Tomar my choice of exercise is to walk the Mata. The Mata are gardens that surround the castle across the street from my home.
To express my gratitude for these beautiful gardens, I pick up any trash I may see along my path. Somedays there seems to be more trash, other days not so much. Someone who enjoys a particular type of candy leaves the wrapper along the trail. I don’t pick up all the trash, but I do always pick up that wrapper. I try to refrain from judgement of the candy person. So much to see in this garden and I want to be of service here in this beautiful part of Portugal.

When something unexpected sprouts up in a garden, that plant is refered to as a “volunteer”. The other dimageay I saw a Palm tree growing in these gardens. I have walked this many times since arriving and never saw it. It was taller than many of the pine trees, so how I had missed it is beyond me.
I have never had much of a green thumb. My gardening days are now spent picking over other’s bounty at the weekly farmers market.

That tree reminded me of the word volunteer. I have practiced being of service by volunteering where I am planted. Last summer I was fortunate to volunteer for an agency that helps the mentally retarded in upstate New York. In Santa Fe my volunteer time was for an organization which benefit people in need of palative care. My longest volunteer time was spent with the fire department in my old home town.

Picking up trash i see along my walk is my small way of volunteering where I am planted. The concept of volunteering is an outward expression for all the gratitude to be present to enjoy what is planted. There are so many different volunteers growing in this garden called earth. I am grateful to be of service in this small way.