I used to be a gardener. It is still a thing that I love and someday I will again make time to tend the ground and grow flowers. Right now it is simply not as important to me as a dozen other projects that I have. I find time to get outside and beat back the weeds, but that is not the same as being a focused gardener. A tended garden is a thing of beauty. My garden is a wilderness where plants have a survival-of-the-fittest battle with only occasional intervention from me. I’m pleased that sometimes the flowers win.
Every year Thanksgiving Point Gardens hosts a tulip festival. I always intend to go. One year I even scheduled an outing to go, but then one of my kids picked that day to pretend to be sick. All of the other years, at least five or six of them, I simply missed the window. Somehow the two weeks in April when the tulips are in full bloom always were busy. I would look up at the end of the month and realize that I’d missed my chance yet again.
This morning, for the first time ever, I didn’t miss it. My friend said “Do you want to go?” and I said “Yes.” So we both ditched our piles of work and we wandered the gardens.
Beauty can be found wild, in untended corners, or even wide open spaces. Yet there is an art to a tended garden, I walk there and I know that it is loved because someone had to get down on hands and knees and dig. They had to get dirty, tired, and sweaty to make sure that all goes well. A tended garden takes a sacrifice of time. I’ve spent my last few years tending other things. This year I’m watching my children bloom when last year was life torn up, mud, and despair. Sometimes tending something is like that, you have to make a big mess before beauty can happen. I’ve also tended many books and last week I got to see them arrayed in a booth where others could see the results of all those invisible hours. My garden is full of weeds, but my life is full of things that are beautiful because of the effort I’ve put into them. So perhaps I am still a gardener, just not of flowers right now.