Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Miracle grow.

Learning to garden stick plants in pots and keep them alive has been really good for me. I love the way it's transformed our yard and the responsibility of watering, pruning and chasing off squirrels has been a lot more fun than I ever would've thought.

The best part, though, is how much it's taught me about letting go.

See, I'm kind of a control freak. Not the hard core kind who wants to control the wind, moon and stars and is constantly banging my head against the wall because not everything bends to my will. I'm more of a twelve step control freak.

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

Yep, that's me. Basically - I choose my battles.

I stopped trying to control people years ago and have mostly accepted that, while the world may or may not care what I want, how I respond to what happens is always up to me. 

I can live with that. 

Especially because there are so many ways to flex my inner control freak. Like making dinner. Or writing! Pretty much anything that starts with an idea and ends with something tangible satisfies my need to take charge. It's probably a good part of the reason I like making so much.

No matter what it is I'm working on, it all falls into the same category: controlled. I don't throw things together; I curate. Outfits, interiors, meals, play lists, you name it. Even simple things that might look like happy accidents (or not so happy accidents...) probably took more than a little thought to get right. 

And once I do get something how I like it? I leave it exactly as-is FOREVER. Or at least until I hate it so much I need to scrap the whole thing and start over.

Re-doing my back patio was definitely no exception. I had to move each pot a couple dozen times to figure out where it belonged and spent hours hanging all the lights (cords are my nemesis...) and rearranging furniture. When everything was finally balanced and just right, I sat back to relax and enjoy my perfect new space.

Only, it didn't stay "perfect" for very long.

Because, in case you didn't know, plants are highly unpredictable. Especially when you don't know a whole lot about them. This dawned on me the second I declared my project "finished" and has only been confirmed about a thousand times since. 

Leaves change color. Flowers die and bloom and die again. Some plants triple in size after a big rain while others keel over. What you see today might never be the same again. 

When I first realized this I thought, "Welp. It's been fun. But I don't think this whole gardening thing is for me..." I mean, who wants to put in all that hard work for an end result that won't just sit there and behave?! If I wanted attitude, I'd try to control my children...


And that's exactly why my backyard is good for me. It's a constant exercise in letting go. In knowing I don't have control but doing it anyway. I wouldn't say I've embraced the idea of change just yet, but I'm willing to stick it out to see what happens. It's a process. A process that's already shown me that sometimes the unexpected can be beautiful. 


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