I wander out my front door and instead of being depressed by waist high weeds, I see attractive plants and dirt. This is not the normal state of my yard in July. My bare feet step off the warm pavement of my walkway on to the soft lawn. The lawn is neatly mowed. All the bushes are trimmed. The grapes are growing along their wires instead of along the ground and up trees. My front garden is a place of order. Not surprising since I’ve spending an average of an hour per day working on it for the past several weeks. My garden is tame again for the first time since I began working full-time. I wander around the corner of the house to the one spot where weeds still lurk. Many more weeds still lurk around the back of the house. Four years of neglect is not quickly corrected. The weeds have a reprieve for the day. My back and arms are still too tired from the exertions of the previous days.
What changed this year? Why is my garden steadily looking more beautiful? Why do I find myself outside without actually deciding to go? Then once I am there I see a small task and decide to do it. Then one task leads to another and I discover that I’ve amassed yet another black trash bag full of detritus. I stand there with the bag and realize an hour has gone by and my arms are sore again. Some of it is a feedback loop. The yard is nicer, so I want to be out in it more. Because I am out in the garden, I see those small tasks and am drawn in yet again. It is a happy cycle. I enjoy the work and the sense of accomplishment. In the last week I have again found a stable happiness which somehow incorporates focused business thoughts, family chores, some writing, and a significant portion of gardening. All these things are fitting together defying my statements of past years that I simply did not have time to garden. Perhaps this blending is gifted to me now because I need it. It feels strangely as if all the digging unearthed secret deposits of time and energy, buried treasures.
It will not last. I know it will not. I am beating back the weeds with a vengeance now, but soon all of my energies will be absorbed by other things. There will be days and weeks when I step outdoors far too tired to begin even the smallest tasks. The weeds will gain ground on me then. Yet beyond those busy days and weeks there will again be times when I can tackle the weeds. I have finally come to believe that slow and steady is actually a better way to accomplish the things I want. I don’t have to hurry and get it all done before I become distracted. Instead I can do some now and trust that I will do some more later. Perhaps it is trust in myself that I have found. I finally have a long enough baseline as an adult to know which things will always cycle back into my life because I love them and seek them out. Or perhaps I have learned to trust that I will be gifted the peace and time that I need when I need it. Again this is cyclical. I’ll probably need to re-learn this trust, but it comes easier than it used to. For now, I am glad that gardening has come back to me. I missed it far more than I realized.