Archives for posts with tag: tending the garden

I woke early-ish, pulled on my clothes still only half awake, and grabbed my camera gear. I heard my Traveling Partner call out to me as I neared the door (“he’s awake?”) and turned back for a “see you in a little while” and a kiss. The sun hadn’t yet risen as I reached the highway heading out of town to the nearby nature preserve (great bird-watching, and well-maintained trails). Lovely morning for it, I thought to myself.

Sunrise over a misty morning along the marsh-side trail.

It’s a Sunday, and I’m thinking I’ll get out into the garden this morning. After I finish my coffee. After I upload all these photos. After I finish feeling more like relaxing than I feel like getting shit done. lol

It was a good morning for pictures of birds.

I enjoyed the drive. There was almost no traffic at all so early on a Sunday morning. I enjoyed the misty dawn and the pale pinks and peaches of the sunrise as it developed into a new day. I enjoyed the walk down the trail alongside the marsh. I enjoyed the moments, sitting quietly, watching for the next interesting picture to unfold in front of my camera lens.

I wasn’t alone on the trail. I wasn’t even the only person on the trail with a camera.

The last several times I’ve come to this location for my camera walk in the morning, I find myself parked next to the same other person. Another woman enjoying her morning walk, camera ready for action, a portable seat or cushion with her (I have a compact folding stool, myself). We greet each other as friends, at this point, and sometimes share a portion of the walk, even stopping for similar shots along our path. We talk of other locations we favor, and share experiences (“Did you see the pelicans?”, “I got a great shot of the swallows yesterday!”). We make jokes now about the morning not seeming complete if we don’t see the other person’s car in the parking lot. She has a much fancier camera and lens than I do. I mentioned how awesome it would be to have that kind of “reach”… she smiles and admits it is pretty nice, then comments that she often regrets the choice; it’s very heavy, and sometimes the weight limits how far she will walk. I admit that I enjoy the lightweight gear I’ve got so much that I don’t have any immediate plan to get a larger lens. We agree that the gear has less to do with the quality of our images than our limited skill – and our good fortune on timing and location. At some point, if we’re walking together as we were this morning, our paths will take us different directions. That’s the way of things, isn’t it? We are each having our own experience, walking our own paths, and any momentary companionship, however genial, is quite temporary. 🙂

I smile and sip my coffee. Does it taste better because I went for quite a long walk beforehand? I for sure appreciate the warmth of the mug in my hand after the chilly morning on the marsh.

Pelican. Also, swallow. This is what “luck” looks like in a photograph.

I finally see a pelican, after a couple visits to this location. People on the trail had been mentioning them for the last couple times I’ve been here, but I haven’t seen them. Probably didn’t walk far enough in the correct direction…? This morning, I see one solitary pelican. I watch for awhile, take numerous pictures, and while I was doing that, I was got seriously lucky; the pelican flared out its wings, and shook itself out in the early morning light. Amusingly, I also captured a swallow in flight in the same shot. I’ve been trying to take pictures of swallows there over the marsh for weeks without luck; they’re very fast, and swoopy. Hard to get a good picture. This time, I got several good pictures of swallows – but I didn’t know it until I got home. They just happened to be in several pictures I took of other things. LOL That’s so often the way of it, is it not? I think there’s something to be learned here.

Where does this path lead?

As the morning began to warm, more visitors appear on the trail. I turn back toward the parking lot, thinking thoughts of home, of love, and of a good cup of coffee. I think about perspective, and of a future not yet determined. I fill my lungs with the scent of meadow flowers, realizing how very much I enjoy the fragrance of wild carrot (“Queen Anne’s Lace”) and yarrow, mingling with meadow grasses and late summer wildflowers.

What a pleasant morning. I think about the garden as I sip my coffee. Seeds are selected. Crops that are finished have been cleared out, their left over leaves and stems chopped up and mulched into the bed. Crops that just didn’t do as well as I’d hoped and seem unlikely to produce a harvest this year (looking your way, melons) will be cleared away, too. Then I’ll add compost and bring the bed level up again (it compressed quite a bit after I initially filled the raised bed my partner built for me), and plant new crops for autumn harvest and for wintering over. I have a lot to learn about gardening. LOL

I sip my coffee and grin at myself at ever thinking I had any idea about “how to garden”. I’ve been gardening in my half-assed way for some 50 years… since I was a kid. My parents had a substantial garden, and I labored in it weekends and summers (mostly weeding and bitching about weeding). I had a small plot of my own that I rather foolishly planted in Jerusalem artichokes, which thrived to an unimaginable degree – cool enough and the flowers were pretty, but no one in the family actually enjoyed them as a food. So… kinda silly and as it turned out, a waste of garden space. Very low maintenance. I learned nothing much from the endeavor besides this one important lesson; grow what you will use and enjoy. That’s not nothing, but hardly worth the mammoth effort involved in keeping those ‘chokes cut back season after season. lol

I have since had small garden beds, container gardens, and patio gardens… all rather fortunately focused mostly on roses and a few herbs. Occasionally I’d grow some veggies, and get something wonderful for my efforts (supremely tasty cherry tomatoes one year, another year a bumper crop of amazing Swiss chard), but I’ve tended to be both lazy and disorganized, and prone to letting shit fall behind when the heat is worst and the garden most in need of my attention day-to-day. No excuses, and I’m not looking to rationalize my results, I’m just saying; I am not my idea of a “great gardener”.

Now I’ve got this home that is mine, and this raised bed out front that my partner built for me, surrounded by flower beds. I’ll only get the results I work for, and that’s one of life’s immutable truths, isn’t it? My partner has set me up for success, though, with a raised bed that is comfortable to work in, close to water, within constant view, and I do adore it. 😀 I find myself ready to admit I’m not a very good gardener and work toward being a better one. That’s a nice place to find myself. It’s a good place to stand, considering options and looking ahead.

It’s time to begin again.

I often think of life as a metaphorical garden. (Isn’t it?)

I sometimes stray down the path without tending the garden.

The healthy tilth is a good starting point; planting seeds in crags and rocks may not yield a generous crop of fruits, vegetables, or flowers. Understanding what is fertile ground, and how to prepare ground for planting has value.

Composting scraps and garden waste skillfully results in more fertile soil… but which scraps are suitable, and which will ruin the compost? Not all that is waste or scrap is worth keeping.

Lush and beautiful, chosen with care. We reap what we sow, and how we tend our garden matters.

Choosing seeds and plants with care, understanding the climate, and the seasons, locally, in my own garden, really matters; however fertile the soil, planting something that can’t thrive in my climate puts my garden at a disadvantage.

A weed in one context may be a crop in another.

Taking care, every day, to nurture my garden, to fertilize when needed, to water, to cut back spent blooms, to weed out noxious or invasive intruders that consume resources, but yield nothing, matters greatly over time. If I am not present, some plants may thrive, willy-nilly, coincidental to the luck of the rainfall and the weather, but the outcome is left to chance – other plants will wither and die. My harvest may not be plentiful. My blooming season limited.

My roses suffer my lack of attention; this is true of most things that require attention.

Self-care works very much in this same way. I don’t suppose I need to spell it all out more factually – if you already keep a garden, you already get it. 🙂

My results vary, as does the weather.

I haven’t been home much, lately. Most weekends I am away. I travel to see my Traveling Partner, catching up with him wherever he is. I travel to see friends. I travel for this or that event or festival. I travel on a whim. I catch myself yearning to be at home, in my own garden…

…Yes, it’s a metaphor. 🙂

This weekend I am at home. I am in my own garden, tending it with care, making up for lost time, present, and appreciating this moment, right here. It’s enough to be here, now, and there is no need or time for self-criticism, or what-ifs, or if-onlys. This is now, and now is enough, and I am here, enjoying it with the woman in the mirror – who has been missing this quiet place, and time.

Be present. See wonders. Experience the moment, fully.

The morning started slowly, and auspiciously enough; I slept in. I woke gently in the twilight of a new day, the room turning light in spite of the curtains, as day broke. I got up. Showered. Found my feet carrying me toward the car as soon as I was dressed. Coffee-to-Go and a breakfast sandwich on a hilltop looking out across the countryside, with a view of Mt Hood beyond. Bare feet. Damp grass. Contentment. No firm plan, and coffee finished, I found my way to the farmer’s market, then heading home with fresh local strawberries, fully ripe – the sort one never finds in a grocery store. The scent fills the car.

I arrive home, smiling so hard my face hurt, in spite of the peculiarly moody dark sky, threatening imminent rain (that has only now started to fall, some hours later). I make a Turkish coffee, melt some chocolate, and feast on strawberries dipped in warm chocolate, sipping coffee, in my garden. I raise my cup cheerily at a robin who joins me, watching me from the deck rail. There is work to do in my garden, metaphorical or otherwise, and I have been away far too much for my own good. I finish my coffee, then finish the spring planting, finish the weeding, finish the watering, just in time to head indoors before the rain comes. I leave a strawberry, fat, juicy, and fully ripe, on the deck rail… in case of visitors. 🙂

Rain is definitely coming.

Inside, my metaphorical life-garden greets me, and here too there is work to be done. Untidiness has crept in, a corner here, a stack of paperwork over there, a piece of gear that was not put away, a book askew from all the rest, a stray sock left where it fell, unnoticed, and so much laundry that very much wants to be put away… I’m still smiling. It’s a good day to begin again. 🙂

I am enjoying my morning coffee. The morning is still and quiet. My tinnitus is louder in my ears (in my head?) that the sounds of the world that are audible through the open patio door. I slept well, and through the night, waking at my usual time, and returning to sleep after taking my morning medication. Sleeping in is a lovely start to a Sunday.

I have re-started this post three times now, changing the underlying idea, changing the title, changing my mind about what matters most this morning…it’s easy; it’s a blog post.

Life allows us to re-write our own narrative, too. I’ve needed to make use of that truth so many times, I sometimes forget how easy it is to commit to one detail, one experience, one notion of the ‘true truth’ or the ‘real reality’ that it becomes less clear that many of the details of life that I cling to with such passion are…well…completely ‘made up’. Seriously. How often has a simple change of perspective completely altered my understanding of the basic facts of an experience such that what I think about it, and what it means to me, are completely changed? Let’s just call that quantity ‘often’, and move on, without criticism or judgement.

I started the weekend with a loose plan, and a lack of preparation. I am ending it mostly with no plan at all, completely prepared for each moment as it happens – just by being here – and I have been both enjoying and benefiting greatly from the experience. Enjoyable has not meant ‘easy’, although it has been very restful and nurturing time with myself, it has also been emotional. The benefits in these circumstances are that I am forced nudged encouraged to listen more deeply to myself regarding what I need, not just of this weekend, but out of my own life, and out of living alone. As usual, there have been verbs involved; I’ve had to repeatedly choose to turn away from brain candy, to listen deeply to my own heart. Tenderly caring for old wounds, and looking at some of love’s challenges from a different perspective has had profound value. I still have more questions than answers – but the questions I have right now are particularly good ones to ask.

One of many creative endeavors - and satisfying without being messy.

A well-spent evening.

I spent yesterday evening meditating and sketching pen & ink note cards for future correspondence. It feels good to work artistically, and it is definitely one purpose of this solo space – more room and time to paint is how I have phrased it, but without intending to limit my creativity to paint on canvas. I have spent a lot of time this weekend meditating, and simply sitting quite still in this quiet place. Oddly, the love seat that arrived Thursday seems to help with that; I find myself sitting there far more often than at my desk. I thought to ask myself why the chair that was already here, in the living room, did not also have that effect? I have no answer, but it is true – I spend much less time at my desk now (and my back thanks me).

Some things don’t work. Quite a few things, actually, and my first draft this morning focused on things that don’t work, from the title to the last word – when I realized I don’t really want the day to be about that. My mouse, for example, is apparently dying… fresh batteries are no improvement. Cleaning it didn’t help. Highlighting more than one word is currently an exercise in managing frustration, as is clicking on a link, which now requires a very careful, deliberate, thoughtful action to be at all successful. I had been, as is my way, just ‘working around it’ and didn’t quite  understand my mouse to be dying – I thought it was something about me that had changed somehow. It was my traveling partner’s frustration with my mouse, and his firm advisement that the mouse is dying, that got me thinking about the experience differently; a needed change in perspective. With some small amount of sadness, I have ordered a replacement for it, and even paid to have it arrive sooner. I like this mouse… it seems to have an image of a naked woman dancing on it, rather abstractly, in the design, and the mouse itself is small and fits nicely in my hand. I feel sad when I replace things that have worked for a long time; this is also part of who I am. There have been other things not working, for days, for weeks, recently, over time – it’s part of life that some things work well and easily, and others less so. It sort of goes without saying, doesn’t it? Even with love…some things work, some things don’t. How that experience fits into life’s narrative remains largely chosen, and changeable – subject to interpretation.

As with so many journeys, it isn't always clear where the path leads.

As with so many journeys, it isn’t always clear where the path leads.

I have a pleasant morning ahead of me. A hike. Brunch with a friend and a visit to a nearby farmer’s market. Coffee and conversation about art, later. An afternoon of housekeeping and taking care of me before reluctantly facing the ongoing truth of having sold my life and effort for 40 hours a week to the highest bidder; tomorrow is Monday, and I must return to work.

I miss my traveling partner a great deal. I wonder when I will see him again? (And what of the wanderer? I have been missing him, as well.) We have plans for next weekend, and I am already eagerly looking forward to dinner with him – ‘dating’ my partner is great fun, and we didn’t do much of it when we first got together. It’s a strange place to be with life and love; appreciative of what we have together, and aware that I want a great deal more from love than what he has to offer, right now. I suppose loving with my whole heart while also leaving my loves free to love in just such measure as they are able to is something to celebrate – sometimes, though, I miss reciprocity, and wonder what I can do to love more skillfully, more tenderly, more passionately, as if doing so would result in being more well-loved… Forgetting, perhaps, that love looks very different seen from their perspective; love has many faces, and all of them are beautiful. Still… I miss romance, and touch, and intimate laughter. I am eager to welcome love home.

Tending the garden in my heart.

Tending the garden of my heart.

Today is a lovely day to be present, and engaged, and real. Today is a good day to love.