I took some time off this week. When I write that I know that I need to clarify. I submitted grades and assessment data from summer school; completed final read-through revisions for a chapter; sent in a follow-up report for grant funding; reviewed a university tourscript and gave feedback; completed a draft of a presentation for the end of the month; and reviewed a manuscript and sent feedback to an author. I focused on the obligations in hopes that it would be a busy and productive week, and that I would be able to complete it all; but, I did not allow myself to go anywhere. I stayed home, grounded to my garden.
I am just starting to process that I have ten weeks of vacation ahead of me even with agreeing to take on a summer course. I do not recall a time when I have had that much time off. I have longed for it for several years now after agreeing to take on more and more service for my work. Now I feel a bit like Mrs. Mallard in Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” when the character begins to whisper, “free, free, free!” Yes, I still have some work obligations before I return to work in August including a short conference at the end of the month but this week I have tried to soak up my time in the garden, especially with the weather being so nice.
|A girl and her whirligigs|
In the garden, the iris blooms have faded, as have the Bleeding Hearts and the Heart Attacks. There are still some blooms here and there, along with the anticipation of the Bella Lugosi Daylily, and my beloved hibiscus. There are some pumpkin leaves growing under the peonies but there are a different type of pumpkin than what I grew before, and I’m not sure what is going on with them. Finally, my pompom tree does not look like it is doing well. I am not sure why he is in distress. I ask, “what is wrong little tree?” and gently try to probe its branches.
I realize more and more that gardeners are like doctors. They do their best to ascertain the problem and remedy it as best they can. Perhaps though we’ve become a culture where gardeners are more sensitive to plant-needs than we are to people. I am watching a friend prepare for her husband’s death from a terminal cancer. It is the saddest thing when a life is cut too short, when plans end before they’re started. I listen to her stories where medical staff are not listening, are not paying attention to basic human needs. All of it hurts my heart. I grieve for her, and I sit a bit closer to my fella.
|hummingbird yard art|
We talk about being gentler humans ourselves, and asking how we can help others more. We are also making plans so that surprises will not be so sudden or as hard.
Monday, I have an annual doctor’s appointment and then that afternoon my fella and I are heading to Hollywood Cemetery to purchase our forever home/ afterlife land. It strikes me as in poor taste that I made the appointments back to back. Really, I was trying to consolidate days when I would have to leave my garden.
We have to take time to enjoy our gardens when our plants are flourishing. We have to prepare for the next stages of our gardens. Sometimes, we watch plants and flowers die without understanding why. This is the great metaphor for life.