A whole month of the new year has come to pass. It went by so fast. On reviewing the to-do list for January, I’m relieved to note how much got done. But what I didn’t accomplish stares accusingly at me. Did I give myself too much to do or did I waste time by getting distracted/ lazy? All of the above I’m sure. Yet, it felt like I was working steadily and somehow time got ahead of me.
Each month has a list of tasks for every area of my life. The garden determines pretty much how I organize it all.
As gardeners, we know to prepare for each season. Winter for dreaming, planning, organizing, researching, ordering, starting seeds. Spring for cleaning up, readying the earth, planting, mulching, staking, weeding, deadheading and inhaling the freshness of the season. Summer for intense weeding, constant deadheading, mowing, watering, reaping the benefits of summer fruits and veggies, long, lazy meals al fresco. Autumn for harvesting, weeding, clearing and cutting, planting, tidying and moaning the end of the growing season. We know, we plan, we expect, we execute.
And working with the garden calender, I organize all my other projects. Writing and painting, while pursued all year round, pick up intensity as the garden grows. It seems counter-intuitive but the more that happens in the garden, the more I’m inspired to create. Fitting it all in the limited hours is challenging but oh so rewarding! Hence, I prepare for it. Sometimes, it is hard to keep up with all the ideas generated by the garden but in all honesty, I love the pressure to stay creative.
Vacations occur only when there is a natural pause in my garden. Winter and late summer work best. Short of impromptu trips partnered with upgraded tickets, I’m not likely to rush off anywhere. Thankfully, celebrations such as weddings and babies give enough lead time for making the right accommodations in my calender. If this admission makes me seem inflexible, it is only partially correct. For the right reasons I’ll happily adjust.
I like this rhythm and routine. There is comfort here. It keeps me centered and present. So when there occurs a shift or change in this schedule, it is unsettling. Like the temperature shifts we’re experiencing this week. Just when January felt more normal and I was beginning to settle into the winter groove, we are given springtime weather. February is off to a balmy start. When the snow melts tomorrow (57 degrees and rainy!), will the dormant plants think it is time to awaken? I should think they’d be mighty surly to be roused so rudely a couple of months too early.
Should I start regular watering of the vertical garden? Will the roses want to be freed of their burlap protection? What will happen to the flats of seeds kept outdoors so they can receive their required cold treatment? How will I do the stuff I’m supposed to do if I’m busy with these unexpected to-dos?
I’m certain winter temperatures will return. But for how long and how low is unknown. It might keep fluctuating erratically. Never mind the havoc to my carefully organized lists and schedules. Agendas be damned.
So with a great big breath I ask myself what is the lesson to be learned here. The answer becomes apparent. I’m being called to stay open and adaptable. The natural world is so resilient. It has seen immeasurable changes from time immemorial. Yet, here it is always bountiful and beautiful. Somehow, this planet of ours has survived every change and onslaught with grace and aplomb.
I shall stop fighting these natural departures from the norm. After all, there’s nothing I can do about it. Instead, taking my cue from the willow, I’ll bow and yield to the winds that blow my way and carry on with what I know to do – to nurture and grow ideas and plants.
With humility and optimism.
Here’s what is keeping me inspired right now:
(c) 2016 Shobha Vanchiswar