It’s not an attractive color for me … green.
Especially, when it is caused by that green dye of a bit of envy.
Yesterday, I didn’t feel all that great. A summer bug, plus, my bones, joints, back, hips and leg, were revolting from what I have made them do this summer. My eyes were blurry, too, and I was out of sorts and just felt puny It was the second day of such nonsense.
But, I went to Lowes in the morning and nought big cement stones, came home, lugged them out of the wagon, and placed them where I had raked up pea gravel. I need them to make little spots for my two little chairs I had bought to sit by the garden. Unfortunately, my good buy chairs, had pointy feet,and if you sat in them, you went down through the pea gravel and into the dirt. Way down. Hence, the stones.
It worked. I covered the stones with pea gravel and placed the chairs on them and tested each one. Tick that box.
I bought two bags of black mulch that I wanted to spread around my 4 spires discount bushes that I had planted,but I didn’t have the energy and the sun was beating down and the humidity was oppressive.
Normally, I would push myself. But I couldn’t. I went into the house, took a shower and washed my hair and then did something that I don’t do … put some pajamas on, signed up for the PBS Passport and watched “The Great British Baking Show” for a couple of hours. I had no ppm and not only that, my body hurt.
I laughed when I thought, “Gardening is good for you.”
Uh-huh. Tell that to my back and bod.
In the afternoon, after watching John, a young British law student, win the contest, I went and sat on the screened porch, and looked at magazines.
I used to love magazine, but then my eyes went bad, so I had some years when I didn’t subscribe. I still don’t read that well off of paper, but I love to look at pictures, and will hone in on some articles or recipes.
“Southern Living” is one of my favorite magazines, as is “Southern Lady.”
I picked up the “Southern Living” and perused it. There is something fun about flipping the pages of a lovely magazine. I do anticipate finding something that I enjoy, on the next page.
That is when I came across som lovely pictures of gardens. I looked at the article. It was written by Francis Mayes, the author of “Under The Tuscan Sun.” Nick and I had seen her speak at an North Carolina event January, before last.
At first, I thought the article was about her. But Mayes turned out to be the author. The piece was about her home and the 30 acres she and her husband purchased in North Carolina.
That is when I noticed my skin turning green. It turned a deeper green as I continued to read.
Mayes’ house has beautiful gardens. Many were there when she bought the place. They were well taken care of, mature … just plain beautiful. I read how she had art shows at her place and had a nifty skeletal greenhouse structure where her artist friends hung their work. She mentioned the large number of people who would come and have drinks and look and buy art.
Her house had a wonderful look. It had been there a long, long time and had history, along with numerous outbuildings. One had been converted to a writing place and artist’s studio.
Double forest green.
Her husband gave her a chain saw for their anniversary.
And she had a bunch of workers to come in with big equipment to clean out and area that was towards the river at the back of their property.
I looked up. I tried to move my aching bones. Little twitchy impulses came to my legs, again. I think they are coming from a goofy nerve in my back. When I did get up, my hip caught. I walked like a question mark.
I saw a photo of Mayes, walking on a path by her glorious garden. Shedin’t look like Shrek, as I do. She didn’t have a bead of perspiration, much less. Sweat water-falling down her face.
I bet she didn’t stink … didn’t need a shower … and her body wasn’t revolting.
Gracious, I wasn’t. It would have been better if I hadn’t felt like I’d beaten hit by a rampaging flower cart.
But there I was, feeling puny, soaking in green envy.
Her writing had afforded her with a beautiful garden and a place I would love. By George, even a movie was made from her writing. People went on pilgrimages to Tuscany and women dreamed of a romantic life abroad. I know that when I was in Tuscany, in the town of Cortona, I thought of that book and movie and Mayes as I walked the cobbled streets.
For a moment, I felt a failure-ish feeling. I can do that to myself … especially if I am not feeling well.
The green color washed away as my thoughts changed. I made them change because I knew that kind of thinking was not in my best interest. Human? Yes. But by now, I should know better.
I immediately thought of Nick and my kids and grandkids and what Nick and I have created … given the world … four wonderful humans, who are giving, generous, kind and really do care about others.
They are my garden. They are the fruits of my labor, (literally).
Today, I go to the orthopedic doctor. I am sure he will look at me like I am an idiot as I tell him that I lifetime stones and dig and lift clay and big plants and bend over and weed and then sit slumped in a recliner.
Yep, some of this is self-inflicted.
So, around 1:30, I will wear anything but green, and go and complain to someone who is paid to listen and help me put things back into whack.
And then, when I get home, I will begin to write a book called, “Under The Compost Pile.”
It should be a best seller.
Just as there is a life cycle for a flower, in the public eye, or in the minds of some people, there is a time when people should exit the stage, leave, go fishing, take a hike.
Having written for going on 25 years, I am probably, one of those people who might have past their expiration date, as far as a reading audience goes.
I have thought about that, a lot, recently. Should I hang up my fingers and brain and words and exit the writing world, stage left? Are readers bored with me? Have I said everything ad nauseous? Have I told stories over and over and over?
Even as of yesterday, I mentioned to Nick, I think I am past my expiration date. I got off of Facebook for a purpose. Many people read my words and wrote that they enjoyed them. But that does not mean that they will follow you, stay with you, search you out, if you move from their comfort or energy zone.
That is humbling. But I also know that that is just people. Life is busy and priorities set in and lives take different directions. My life moths along. I move from different necceary duties and work and move on with new interest.
But writin. Writing and photography, have never abandoned me. Readers might disappear, publications I have written for have come and gone and changed and love fresh voices of a new generation.
I noticed the shift after 9-11. There was a seismic shift then and with the market kefuffle in 2008.. For a while, I changed with the market. I found publications for my work.
Then I developed a nice following of readers on my FB blog. But FB bothers me. I love it and hate it. It has good technology that is often used in a less than forthright way. Politically, and otherwise. So, jut as I am independent politically, I decided to write independently.
There are more formatting options. It is mine. and that is nice.
All of that being said, what I am learning from this little venture, is that the bottom line is … independent of whether a large number of people read my words, or only a few, I love to write. It really is a spiritual thing for me. Though I have retreated. Somewhat. From a busy life, to one of gardening, nature and nurturing in a smaller way, writing makes me feel alive. It is how I sort my thoughts and let the world know that I have been here, I have learned, done some things well and screwed up othert things, and that is all part of the life I have built.
It really is a joy to touch people in some way, to strike a note of life that rings true, or is absurd, or cracks people up.
In this world of marketing, social media, LIKES, SUBCRIBES, and GOOGLE ANALYTICS, sometimes the point gets lost in my head. Not everyething can be measured in numbers. If one person reads and it affects them, it is worth it. And if I write for myself, it is worth it, too.
I am still learning to figure out life and how to live in this technology driven, results oriented, society.
But as long as the birds fly, butterflies have magic wings and the preying mantis visit, you will find me working in my garden, finding love in some aspect, everyday, and sipping tea ,,, I will write and take photographs that bring me joy. Sharing it is just a bonus.
I can be harsh. I can look at a diseased or dying plant and have it affect me much more deeply than it should.
I can hone in on the problems of the garden and life.
Instead of seeing the whole picture, the beautiful flowers and plants and the birds that arrive with bravado, I look at what needs to be done, size up what needs work.
That is what hit me in the face, yesterday, as I looked at a zinnia whose leaves had gotten some sort of black spot. Yep, I took it personally.
Abut after watching “A Gardener’s World” a lovely show about gardens in England, I walked to my garden and thought, wow, I have done a lot of work and smiled … right before I dug in, and made a new path and began sweating like Shrek in the weather with a 77% dew point.
The mind shift and excitement came back to me as I saw possibility, and put away my stink-eye.
Sixty-six years old, and still have to work on my attitude.
In my life, I have met people who couldn’t figure out how to live. Life was always a problem. Nothing added up. Why can’t I have this, do that, look like …
Accepting things as they were or are, and not going down the path of self-doubt, or feeling angst and defeat is a big part of how one lives a peasant life in a day.
I am slow, but I am learning. I am seeing so much of life, and myself, in my garden.
Dirt that is rampant with fungus. It is there. The world will not end.
The plant that had glorious flowers yesterday, is dragging, today. There is no need to fret.
Weeds are coming up, again, where I thought I had gotten rid of them. Relax.
The hostas don’t like where they are. Move them and get on with your life.
You get the point. It is the same as in so many other areas of my life.
The dough I made didn’t rise properly. That need not be the benchmark for your day.
The 5 gallon pail with all of the birdseed fell over and spilled all over the patio. Shit happens. Smile anyway and laugh. The birds will still come, tomorrow.
Monte, the gardener from England, whose show I watch, made me realize I was being a tad anal about all of this, and that the garden (and life) will have its day, or most likely, a moment, when the flower is perfect, the plant is robust, the dough rose beautifully, and my hair looks pretty decent.
These are but moments in time. You take your mental snapshot and know that it is all going to change because that is how life is.
But to only see the diseased plant or the flower with the gimpy pedals or to think you are a failure because your dough didn’t rise? That is like living in a no-outlet.
And that isn’t how I want to live. I shall, each day, marvel at the flowers and plants and events that make me feel that sense of marvel, wonder, and fulfillment.
This moment is temporary.
And so is life.