Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A gift the garden gave me today

I wrote a little something the other day to a friend, about the gifts the garden is giving this time of year.

 So much to be done. 
Having longer days, full of sunshine, to do it in.
It's coming alive, and so am I. I breathe deeply, hold, and exhale deeply.

If I do a long scan on the garden, the list of to-dos is endless. When I begin to pull weeds and unwanted seedlings (aren't unwanted seedlings weeds, et tu brute?) I can feel the anxiousness rise in my chest. My eyes dart a little further to the left and right, and the work is overwhelming. So much. How can I possibly get all of this done? In the past, I've just given up and walked away, telling myself my garden is a cottage garden, meant to be imperfect and flouncy. But that's giving in to it.

Yesterday I found myself head down in a bed full of weeds and errant tall grass (ugh!), and I talked myself down. "Stay in your lane, stay present, stay right here with only what's in front of you." And I smiled. These are life skills. When my workload is full, I stay with just one item on my list and focus only on that. And so it is in the garden. I stayed present. I smiled to myself. I only did what was immediately in front of me, and not with anxious frustration, but with gratitude for recognizing what was going on. The gift is to be present, right then and there. To rid just that 3x3 foot section of the numerous seeded daisies, grass and unnamed weeds (those ones with elastic roots). To feel the sunshine on my shoulders, the needed stretch in my tight lower back, and a life that affords me a work break to spend this time in the middle of the morning on a weekday in my garden. This gift was so much better than this morning's gift a stranger left in our parking strip: an overflowing dirty diaper.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

When karma delivers the unexpected

Two weeks ago one evening, AdRi jumped from her chair in the living room and out the front door. Two boys had ridden their bikes through our front garden, and not carefully, either. Of course they didn't stop when she called out to them, and the fritillaria that was preparing to bloom was toppled and smashed, plowed over by their flying-through-the-air BMX bikes. She brought in the blooms and they've been slowly opening in a vase on the kitchen counter.

Fast forward to last evening.

We were working in the garden, and heard the familiar sound of a lawnmower being pushed down the street. Two kids were offering their services, door to door, for mowing lawns. Funny thing, they seemed to not be coming up to our house with a sales pitch. Hell yes I want someone to mow the exterior of our house: it's a pain. We live on a corner, and beyond the garden, the only grass besides a small backyard patch is the unwieldy green mane in the front and side along the sidewalk. Being Spring in Portland, it grows about 5 inches a week. And I'm not overstating that. "$20?" they offered. "$10" AdRi countered. And they had a deal.

After they finished, they may have been asked if they were the same boys who had ridden their bikes through our garden. They may have looked stunned and like two deer caught in the headlights of a car at midnight on a dark country highway. They may have said of course it wasn't them. We may have known it was exactly them. And we may or may not have two BMX bikes smash through our garden again. We'll see.