I walked through the garden this morning. There is so much to be excited about: the lilacs are loaded with buds, the forsythias are in full, blazing bloom, and the mesclun and peas are coming up nicely in the vegetable garden. Robins are building a nest in the apple tree again.
So why is it that all I can see in the garden this morning is the mess? Weeds are everywhere, thanks to our recent, bizarre March heat wave. I think we lost the variegated lavender I bought last year. The area behind the garage, which we’ve designated as a berry patch/perennial area (read: low maintenance but still productive) is a complete disaster, with dandelions and crabgrass growing up through the mulch and Queen Anne’s Lace popping up everywhere.
I have always been big on seeing the beauty in our gardens, on not comparing ourselves to anyone else or trying to live up to unrealistic expectations. I still believe that. But I’m also frustrated with the fact that my garden, right now, symbolizes every personal failing I abhor in my self. My inability to focus on anything, ever, for more than a few minutes at a time, is represented by the herb starts still sitting on the potting bench, weeks after I purchased them at Eastern Market. My tendency to half-ass things, even important things, is there in the planted and then unwatered area of the garden that was supposed to produce a nice spinach crop. My inability to just decide what I want and go for it stares me in the face every time I look at the bed at the back corner of the house, which is either an asparagus patch or a flower bed, and, right now, is both because I can’t just decide what to make of it.
I know, logically, that none of these things are the end of the world. Spinach seeds can be replanted. Weeds can be pulled. A place can be found for the herb starts. It’s what they represent, right now. I am not happy with where I am professionally. I have allowed my life to become unbalanced while chasing after a dream that may never amount to anything more than just one more in a long line of failures. I feel inept as a parent, every day of my life. I look at my ever-expanding waistline and see more months of failure to take care of the things I need to, health-wise.
And this dissatisfaction over small things bothers me. Because when I look at everything, my life is amazing. I have the world’s best husband. Four smart, healthy, amazing kids. A happy, welcoming home and a garden that feeds my family and provides a haven for wildlife at the same time. Two published books, a dream in and of itself. The imperfections are such small things, and yet, those are the things I focus on.
Any other time, I could overlook the weeds, the mess, and just chalk them up to facts of the gardening life. I would like to get back to that. This focus on failure has, for the moment, taken the joy out of my garden, and, as a result, I haven’t been writing about my garden as much as I ordinarily would in this season of rebirth. I will work through it. I always do. And when I do, I’ll wonder, as always, what the big deal was. The good news is that I know, from past experience, that I’ll come back stronger, better. I just wish it didn’t take so long.
I’m going to take a long weekend off (after today) and relax, and refocus, and remember the beauty that lies in even the most pervasive of weeds. To try and remember that I am not my failures, but that each failure leads to something better somewhere along the way. And, once it’s passed, I will be back to being my normal, passionate, opinionated self.