Sunday, 31 May 2020

View from the Crow's Nest: I see changes

May 20:

Our garden is shaggy. It’s become overgrown and jungle-like in places. The overall effect is still beautiful, if you’re sitting on the patio and not bothering about the details. But when you take a stroll down the pathways, you see the grass growing in between the stones, you feel the dip in the path that collects the water every time it rains, you notice that the enormous rosemary has lots of dead branches in it.

Huge ferns have sprung up and are competing with more mannerly plants. Some plants we thought were cute turned out to be invasive and are everywhere. Basically, our garden needs a makeover.

It’s been 13 years since we began landscaping our bare piece of property. We went wild, planting every blessed thing that appealed to us, like rosemary that wouldn’t grow in Edmonton. And because of our mild climate, it only took a few years for our garden to be a thing of beauty. And then without our noticing it, the thing of beauty turned on us, and there was just too much of everything.

So this is the year. We will need to be ruthless if we want to make real changes. Some plants will just have to go for the good of the garden. Some will be trimmed into shape to suit our purposes. Some parts of the garden will lay fallow while we decide what to do with it.

This makeover reminds me a bit of life during the pandemic. We were so used to the freedom of doing what we wanted to do when we wanted to do it. We indulged ourselves in whatever our little hearts desired. Life was good –  if you didn’t look too closely. But Covid has stopped us in our tracks, and once we got over the shock, we realize that maybe our life is overgrown with distractions and bad habits. Our passions may be crowding out other good things. Or easy choices have left us lazy and unfocussed.  And, yes, we realize, our life is unbalanced. It has become shaggy. It needs a makeover.

It won’t be easy. We will have to be ruthless if we wish to make real changes. We will have to trim things out of our schedule, and put some things aside, give them a rest, till we decide if we can live without them.

The time to do it is now. I wonder if we will remember this lesson when the pandemic is over.

May 22:

There is a lot of turmoil going on around our house, with trucks unloading sand and patio stones onto the driveway and three people working in the backyard. Earlier in the week, they removed rocks and sod, dug up plants, and reshaped flower beds. That was the prep work.

Now they are ready to do the big main job of laying a stone path where grass used to be. It will be good, but in the meantime, it’s a mess.

I guess that’s the way it is with the interior life, too. First you excavate what’s there, then you build it up again into something that works. In the meantime, it’s a mess.

May 23:

Today, we went shopping for some new plants to put in the garden. We visited a nursery that specializes in trees and shrubs.

So much choice! We were looking for a small maple to put beside the pond. Did we want a red one or a green one? And how small is small: a maple that grows to 6 feet, or one that grows to 20?  Lacy leaves or solid? Drooping or straight up? Red bark, green bark, brown bark? One in a 3 gallon pot or in a 6 gallon pot? One that costs $60 or one that costs $300?

We took pictures and made notes, but didn’t choose anything because we wanted to consult our plant book and our landscaper son. There was no rush, but if we found the right one, we’d know it in our hearts, and we’d buy it. That’s what happened after we talked to J. He told us about a maple he’d seen in a local store that was native to BC, not Japan or other country. It was the only one he’d seen in all his nursery trips. It was the right size, it had interesting features, and it would work perfectly. We bought it.

I’m thinking that we have many choices in life, too. And if you’re doing a makeover of your inner life, rooting out what you don’t want and what doesn’t work for you anymore, then what do you replace it with?

So many choices! Take your time ... But if you happen upon something that makes your heart sing, grab it! It was meant for you.

PS: A makeover, whether in the garden or in life, is totally worth it!

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