Archives for posts with tag: I’ll be in the garden

Progress is progress – even in small barely noticeable steps. Incremental change over time says nothing about the size of the increments, or the length of the timeframe. Your growth, change, and forward progress in life are yours to pursue, to limit, to choose, to determine, to embrace or resist… No one else really gets to tell you how, when, or why to take a particular step on your path. Doesn’t stop folks from trying, sometimes, or thinking themselves in some way the moderator of your experience.

(One note, before you jump ahead, I’m not presently considering experiences such as childhood, incarceration, or military life, all of which do indeed include a considerable amount of one’s time being “told what to do”, for reasons outside the parameters of this discussion; this is not about that.)

I woke early this morning, a sunny, somewhat chilly Sunday. I woke feeling rested and eager to embrace the day. Feels good. A hot shower, meditation, and my first coffee were enjoyed without waking my still-sleeping Traveling Partner. Instead of bustling about on housekeeping chores or gardening (that would require rattling some things on the deck to get at tools and such), I head out for a short walk and to pick up donuts, hoping to start my partner’s day well. I arrived home to find out that he woke with a severe headache, and a request to be very gentle with him this morning. My greeting is quiet and less boisterous than usual when I open the front door; headaches suck.

We enjoy coffee together and hang out for a few minutes. Pleasant and agreeable moments, shared, are a lovely way to begin a sunny Spring morning. 😀

The garden begins to take shape.

I sit down here with thoughts of gardening and a smile. I’m eager to face even tasks like weeding this year. My vision of our garden is slowly coming together, just as our life here in our own home takes shape a bit at a time. It’s lovely. I wrote myself a gardening “mission statement” for this year’s endeavors (a suggestion by Huw Richards that I found especially helpful for focus and a sense of purpose).

To connect the garden to the kitchen through beautiful edible landscape, and create an oasis of flowers for passing butterflies, hummingbirds, and artistic inspiration.

I reflect on this each morning (and weekend) when I consider what to do next, and how I want to see the garden develop – and what matters most about each plant and seed. The thoughts feel more connected with each other, and I have been less prone to just going nuts with new plants that won’t thrive, or vegetables with cool pictures that I won’t actually eat, or may not be well-suited to the growing conditions here. It’s also helped me refine my thoughts about questions regarding raised beds, additional trees, and placement of objects – all things I sometimes tend to be rather haphazard about, resulting in unsatisfying chaos, and unmanageable workload for the likely return on my time and effort.

I have seedlings coming up in grow bags outside. Seedlings coming up in seed trays on the windowsill in my studio. Seedlings coming up in the front flower beds. Recently planted herb plants establishing themselves in the front beds are thriving – all but the pineapple sage, which I can tell has not been happy about the unexpectedly frosty handful of recent mornings. Looks like it will bounce back, though. I purchased some additional seeds for later sowings, with the eventual return of winter in mind. Planning ahead will ideally mean I am never scrambling to complete the next seasonal task. Somehow having this small “seed bank” of open-pollinated, organic, (often heirloom) selection of seeds that don’t have patent-protecting limitations on reproduction has me feeling more prepared for potentially worsening supply chain issues that may make buying produce challenging. It may be an illusion, but… I like having a garden. I like feeling secure. Having seeds on hand feels good. The time and consideration of each choice – and each source – feels well-spent.

Seeds – the planting, the nurturing, the harvesting of the results – are a fond metaphor, for me. So much of life’s quality is in that “we reap what we sow” sort of place. The idea that “we get out of it what we put into it” appeals to me. I think it is likely a bit more accurate to observe that regardless of circumstances, how we deal with those circumstances is key to the outcome over time and our subjective experience of living our lives. Sometimes the circumstances are garbage. Sometimes “the hand we’re dealt” is pretty fucking crappy. We don’t always choose the shores on which we stand – but we get to choose the direction in which we proceed, do we not? 🙂 So… planting a seed is a small beginning on a new adventure – what we do once that seed is planted has a lot to do with how things turn out, once the fruits of our labor begin to ripen. I sip my coffee and follow the threads of this favorite metaphor as I look out the window to the pear tree beyond the fence, and the small bright yellow bird looking back at me. (I think it is a Yellow Warbler…)

I make a couple notes about things I want to do today, out in the sunshine… place a couple lovely large river rocks that were once part of my aquarium decor… tie the pea trellis more firmly… check in with my Traveling Partner regarding potentially adding a raised bed out front… weeding (and sketching & photographing weeds for later identification)… it’s a lovely morning to plant a seed – and begin again. ❤

It’s the last day of “winter”. It hasn’t felt much like winter for a handful of weeks, aside from an occasional frosty morning, and one brief cold snap with temperatures below freezing. Tomorrow? Spring.

The primroses know Spring has arrived.

The hardy primroses in the front flower bed are blooming. My impression when we moved in was that the trio of tidy clumps with their merry blossoms were (probably hastily) added as part of the sort of flurry of activity a homeowner does to prepare a house for sale. Chasing “curb appeal.” I like them fine. They’re not fancy. I’m not particularly attached to them. They do reliably make me smile when I pass, each time I leave or return home. That’s worth something. I don’t see myself pulling them out… probably just add more, other colors, shake it up a bit with some variety, or something of the sort. Certainly, I don’t hold my lack of passion for primroses against these durable show-offs; they are blooming quite generously, and this time of year, they’re really all I’ve got for flowers. The handful of tiny grape hyacinths here and there bashfully do their best, and I appreciate each of the wee flowers opening up as the days become sunnier. Over time, I hope to create a splendid cottage garden full of flowers, and scents, and things to take pictures of. For now? It’s primroses.

The roses in the garden know it’s Spring, too. There is more new growth every day, and already I regret not “taking a firm hand” with “Baby Love“; she is thriving (and then some), and was still blooming in December. (My failure to prune her was mostly to do with that. I was enjoying the rose being in bloom.) Now she’s a chaotic mess of last year’s foliage, this year’s tender new foliage just unfolding, and withered hips from the last flowers that bloomed. It tickles me to see this rose do so well; my Traveling Partner gave this rose to me, back in 2011, after we moved into an apartment together. It did well in a container, and has never let me down – almost always first and last to be in bloom. We’ve had a good decade together. (The rose, and also the partnership.)

Although I’d kept several roses going for (almost 3) decades in containers, when we moved from that last rental into our home, and I prepared to move the roses, I was caught unprepared for how many were doing so poorly that I had concerns about bringing disease or insects to the new location, which is very close to a natural forested area, with a creek running through it. When I got the closer look needed to move pots that had been in one place for a couple years, I was dismayed by their poor condition. Potbound. Roots rotting. Infested with ants. I hadn’t left myself enough time to deal with all of that. Most of them didn’t make the trip, and went, instead, to a rose-loving neighbor. “Sweet Chariot” and “Nozomi” made the trip – but they were both replacements for ones I’d had for many years, and were only a few years old. Another, “The Alchymist“, I bought thinking fondly of my Traveling Partner, not too very long ago. One rose in the garden was the first rose purchased specifically for this garden; “Easy on the Eyes“. No doubt there will be more, eventually, when I have a better idea where I might want them.

…Funny how much I enjoy roses. It was rather “accidental”. My first husband bought a little house in Texas when we were separated, to get me to come home. (Rather stupidly, that worked and I quickly regretted my life-threatening short-sightedness.) In the front of the house were some massive roses, overgrown, stiff, tall, and straight – they blocked the front window with enormous red blooms that were powerfully fragrant. “Chrysler Imperial“, “Olympiad“, and “Mister Lincoln” were so bold, so red, and so… rose-y

I didn’t yet know what I didn’t know, and I pruned the roses back aggressively, without a second thought. I learned some things from that experience… like… wear long sleeves and garden gloves when tussling with thorny roses. Ouch. In the backyard of that house, along the back fence, the previous owner had planted quite a few small “shrubs” of some sort. They weren’t doing well, and I wasn’t sure what they even were. We mowed them down entirely, figuring that would make short work of them – and some weeks later, they came back stronger. Miniature roses. I learned then that roses are not hard to grow – they’re glorified sticker bushes. LOL I fell in love with the miniature roses. I undertook to learn more… and here I am. I grow roses.

I love roses. I don’t even mind the thorns. I like hybrid tea roses, and species roses. I like climbers and ramblers and minis. I love the many scents of rose that are each so different – and somehow reliably also very much rose smelling. I love the varieties of different sorts of blooms, and the many shades of green of the foliage of roses. Oh sure, some hybrids are so delicate that one may as well claim to be farming powdery mildew as stake a claim to growing the rose, but I confess; I “shovel prune” those and move on to a cultivar or species that will do well in my garden. It’s easier than arguing with powdery mildew, I promise you that. LOL

Why am I sharing this bit of myself with you, tonight? No particular reason, besides Spring. Tomorrow, I’ll spend some portion of the day in the garden, rain or shine. Tidying things up for later plantings. Assessing the damage left of winter. Making up my mind about which greens to plant in the vegetable garden, with the onions, garlic, shallots, and herbs that I know I’ll want for cooking. Carrots? I think I’d like to plant some carrots, too. Maybe some peas or green beans of some sort. Things for stir frying? Maybe so. The garden is where my thoughts are this evening, and that’s worth sharing (and enjoying) – if for no other reason than that my thoughts are not on warfare, or sorrow, or global conflict, or mired in the lingering recollection of some task to deal with at work or some spreadsheet I can’t stop thinking about. I’m more than content to have my mind in the garden. I’m even happy with that.

I’m working on doing a better job of taking care of the woman in the mirror. I’ve been a bit shit at that, lately, and I can do better. 🙂

So, here I sit. No coffee; it’s evening. After I finish this, I will retire and meditate, maybe read awhile, and maybe even sleep in tomorrow. It’s not a fancy way to enjoy an evening – but it’s enough, and I am okay right now. 🙂

It’s a mild Saturday morning. Not yet sunny. Also not raining. Just a morning. My coffee is hot, sitting mostly untouched in front of me. My Traveling Partner and I are “enjoying” our individual, somewhat overlapping, personal experiences of seasonal allergies. His, a lifetime struggle. Mine? Returning with a vengeance here in this new place, after decades mostly without allergies at all. I’ve minimized my allergies for years; they simply aren’t “anything” in comparison to what my Mom endured, or what my Traveling Partner goes through for so much of the calendar year that even suggesting those are “seasonal” could seem like a mockery. “I don’t have allergies” still seems mostly true for me… but this morning, my stuffy head and sneezes tell a story of Spring, and pollen (it’s the tree pollen that seems to be the issue; I can smell flowers all damned day without concern).

…And of course, my preferred walks each day? Forests. Trees. Shaded paths. Hilarious. 0_o (That’s a rare use of sarcasm; I’m not finding it all amusing really.)

It is a mild Saturday morning, suitable for gardening (I have a list of things to do), and relaxing. I’m eager to do a bit of gardening in this new place – gardening that won’t suddenly face the upheaval of moving away, gardening that can be planned for a future that exists. Maybe. I mean… the future is an uncertain thing, but at least here I can plan for some sort of permanence, as much as one ever can. No, I’m not feeling down or fatalistic, just disinclined to deceive myself with fanciful tales of “happily ever after” or “always”. Those are not helpful concepts, generally speaking. 🙂

“Baby Love”, an early bloomer, will go into the ground this weekend. 🙂

This cup of coffee is good. Not good enough to ease me past the morning frustration of dealing with allergies, perhaps, or to fix any of society’s ills, but it’s a nice moment on a pleasant morning, and that’s enough right now. I think of far away friends I’d like to take time to connect with, emails I’d like to write. Maybe pick up the damned phone now and then? (Does anyone actually answer the phone when it rings, any more? I rarely do… is that a “me thing”, or an “everyone thing”? Has the etiquette of a phone call changed since… before?)

At some point, after our anniversary was past, my Traveling Partner ever-so-gently brought up how much benefit I seem to get out of a weekend away, solo, and wondered aloud if I were, perhaps, due for one…? He admitted to having the thought on our anniversary, and shared that it seemed less than ideal to bring it up on that occasion. I appreciate his consideration… I’d had that thought, too, and felt like a complete jerk for it, considering the occasion. LOL He’s quite right, though; I’m definitely “feeling it”.

…And he definitely feels me feeling it…

I’m not sure why I’m feeling it so hard right now… the new job is intense (in good ways) and quite busy. I do spend nearly 100% of my waking time in the presence of at least one other human being, or on a call, or in a meeting (and yes, Zoom meetings are still every bit as “people-y” as in person, for me)… it gets fatiguing after a while. I enjoy solitude. I want to simply exist, free of social constraints or pressures to perform, conform, achieve, or relieve. I want to breathe my own breath. Think my own thoughts. Exist entirely in the context of my own experience. Make choices with little regard for other tastes, other needs, other timing. It’s complicated when people partner up who have very different needs in this area. I’m fairly certain that while I feel like I “never have a minute for my own thoughts”, my partner may feel that we “never get to spend any time together” – and both those experiences are legitimate perspectives on our individual experience as human primates. I’m fortunate to be in a partnership in which we recognize our differences and value them – and help each other find our best path forward.

Anyway. I’ve been vaccinated. I feel relatively comfortable making the short journey to the coast and taking a day for myself. Masked & distancing, yeah, that’s still a thing for sure. I’m okay with that, too. I got lucky on getting a pleasant ocean view room a few steps from the beach (131 actual stair steps, if reviews are to be believed) – next weekend. The weather is nice for painting. I’ll take my water colors and my camera along with me. My laptop. I’ll walk miles along the beach. Take some pictures. Meditate. Think. Write. Paint.

…I will miss my Traveling Partner so so much…

We benefit from a bit of time to miss each other. I sip my coffee and wonder what he’ll get up to while I’m away… besides missing me, I mean. 🙂 I already look forward to sharing pictures and conversing about time we did not spend together.

…I’m already looking forward to beginning again. 🙂

Yesterday sorted of slipped past me. Spring. 🙂 I woke from a deeply restful night’s sleep, yesterday, slowly, gently, a day fully planned for hanging out with a friend and going out later. When I stood the headache just flattened me. I intended to take things easy, what with the headache, followed by a bit of dizziness and nausea, but shortly found myself… wandering around the house… kind of randomly and without purpose.

I honestly wasn’t sure what was up with me beyond the headache. I cancelled hang out plans first thing in favor of self-care.

…I didn’t make coffee. I have no idea why, but I just… didn’t. I got in the car, barely awake, and drove down the street to an excellent cafe (the storefront of a local coffee roaster I enjoy) and got coffee. I committed firmly to heading home…and spent 90 minutes driving around the countryside drinking coffee. It was a weird morning, lacking in stress – or purpose.

I found my way home, and sat awhile on my meditation cushion in the open patio doorway, listening the rain fall, and feeling the spring breezes. Definitely spring; there are signs of greenery, like a fine mist, all over the deciduous trees, and the roses are leafing out in shades of bright green and russet (the reddest of my roses always seem to have the deepest red new leaves and shoots, where the yellow, pink, or peach ones are often very bright light green shades). I watched squirrels play. I watched birds hop about. I definitely wanted to be in the garden.

As soon as I stood to head into the garden, my headache reminded me why I was taking it so easy. Then my eye reminded me that I would not be easily able to do the things I wanted to do in the container garden on the deck without a visit to the nursery or garden supply place nearby… and I hadn’t actually visited those last autumn after moving in. I happily got back in the car and drove around checking out the nearest garden suppliers, finding one that feels most “like my sort”, and spending quite a long while exploring there. I stopped for Turkish coffee along the way. I came home with soil and a handful of seeds. Yep. I could have gone just about anywhere for the things I actually returned home with. LOL

One lovely moment from a lovely day.

It was a weird day with the woman in the mirror.

Spring is here.

I spent the afternoon in the garden, and finished up out there aware that I was still headaching on this whole other “maybe you really need to take it easy” level when I careened into the door jamb clumsily. Okay, okay, so… maybe a night out on St Patrick’s Day to see a great band play in a local bar returning home further fatigued and faced with night driving would not be an ideal choice? I canceled those plans, too. I felt content with the decision-making, and unconcerned with the weirdness.

Later, I roasted a chicken on the smoker-grill on the patio; it sits under the eaves, just out of the rain, and the smell of it was wonderful. Cold chicken salad tonight – which also sounds quite nice.

It was a lovely Saturday, headache and all. I’m content to have enjoyed it, making the most of the day without regard to that headache, which, honestly, completely sucked all day long. I just really don’t want to waste more days on pain than I have to… I’m not sure how many I get, you know? 😉

Today, brunch with a friend, and a visit to a favorite market. The headache, for now, has eased somewhat. It’s a lovely morning to begin again.

I slept heavily last night and woke with effort to the insistent beeping of my alarm. My joints snap and crunch as I move through my morning routine; I’m stiff and have a headache. I feel vaguely aggravated, but aware that it is all biology, and there’s really nothing ‘wrong’ aside from the simple realities of aging, and paying the price of youthful misadventure. My coffee seemed to go cold as soon as I pulled the shot, which, while irritating, is irrelevant; I swallow the bitter brew in spite of that, preferring to avoid the headache that I could expect later if I chose to dump it out. I suppose I could have started over…

I feel far removed from a sense of contentment.

Yesterday evening was lovely. Dinner out and family time hanging out at home afterward. The evening looked promising for romance, too, but without any real agita it didn’t go that way after all.

I feel restless and annoyed, although there doesn’t seem any real reason for it. Yesterday, too. Hormones most likely, and at the tail end of things there’s no easy way to be certain of that; I just accept what is, and practice good practices, and hope that in simple practices of mindfulness, and continuing to return my attention to what is good and satisfying, I will perhaps let go of what is not with greater ease. Can I learn to be satisfied with less and less of what I think I want and need, until only satisfaction remains, whatever I may actually have?

I feel so human.

In a photograph of flowers it always looks like spring.

Let’s take a moment for something else…

Imagine yourself anywhere at all, right now, doing…something. Whatever you like. No limits. Sink into it. Make it real. Build it in your imagination with words and feelings; you know you can, it’s how thinking works, and most of our experience in based on this, more than what is ‘real’. So. Where are you? What are you doing? I am sitting at a small bistro table, on a pleasant morning, with a very good latte and enjoying the sunshine and flowers of my cottage garden, on the edge of some small friendly village. I’d be relaxing with my partner, conversing about whatever, feeling the breezes and waving to passing neighbors, and maybe sharing a warm scone while we talk about love. At least this morning, that’s where I’d be…some days I yearn for something different. Today I yearn for love, Love, and romance, and a quiet cottage garden.

Today is a good day for honest heartfelt yearning, and also a good day for contentment and satisfaction, and recognizing that what is can be amazing when I am not chasing what isn’t. Today is a good day to seek perspective, and for recognizing it when it is found. Today is a good day to smile in the face of my challenges; life’s curriculum would teach nothing if it were too easy. Today is a good day to accept that the challenges of this day become the strength of character I rest on tomorrow. Today is a good day to take another look at how I see the world.