I have this vision in my head of myself as an old woman.
I tend to a small, welcoming home, bathed in brilliant colors… inside and out. The walls are adorned with pictures of the people I’ve loved, the shelves filled with pieces of the world I’ve traveled and it smells like freshly-baked bread.
I wake in the morning, before the sun, to feed, water and walk my perfectly-behaved and peace-filled dog. Then I’m home to spend the rest of my morning hours piddling in my flower garden. I know the flower names and their needs. I walk on a stone path from flowerbed to flowerbed. I know where the divisions are, but anyone looking at my garden would think it is a seamless expression of blooming brilliance.
Then there are the days there is not much tending to be done, and I can sit in my garden with my coffee, the sounds of the birds I’ve invited to join me and any friend who happens to need a place to sit. The fleur de lis iron bench is covered with a well-loved cushion that knows the places my bones find rest and the table is set for visitors.
There is a problem with this vision…
I don’t know how to garden.
My gardening resume’: I’ve managed to keep three potted
plants alive for an entire year…barely. A personal record. I pruned my bridal spireas two years ago, and I have helped my daughter to kill her girl scout plants for two years running.
“Life is too fast and chaotic,” I justify.
“There is no time to tend to plants…I have other growing to do.”
It’s true, and excusable…sortof.
I want to make a sign to post in our yard that says, “Excuse the weeds…we’re growing children.”
The energy I spend on the physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual growth of our children is time-consuming and very real. That being said, it is starting to be a problem that our life is too chaotic for a garden.
It is another reality I can no longer ignore. Part of why I cannot have a garden is because I am never planted in one place long enough to have one. A garden needs a gardener, but I am also realizing, if I want to become an old-woman gardener, I need a garden. The logic takes me to the acceptance that I need to find a place, dig in roots and surround myself with fertile gardening soil.
Gardeners are patient, however, and I will be picky about the ground that calls me.
The plan: I will slow first, plant second, tend third…and then my vision of floral brilliance actually becomes possible.