In the incredibly busy world we live in, sometimes we get so caught up that we forget to breathe. Covid-19 has given many of us the time to be still and listen to ourselves and gardening has given me the space to breathe.
I’ve always been a busy person. I thrive on the joy of being a part of groups. Growing up, I took dance, was in Girl Scouts, ran track and was a member of an exorbitant number of clubs and organizations. I can remember in my college days actually running across campus from one thing to another, having my schedule completely booked. It was fun. It was exciting. It was exhausting.
You don’t notice the amount of pressure and stress you put on yourself when you’re young, but as you age, you sure do. It’s been 14 years since I finished my second master’s degree. The days of sprinting across the college campus are long gone, but I still find myself running through life. I love being busy and having things to do, places to go to and people to see. When the pandemic shut everything down, like many others, I no longer had places to go to and couldn’t see friends. Being a military family, we are stationed 700 miles from what we call home, where our families live. We do love where we are though and purchased a home with 10.65 acres. There should be plenty of space to breathe out here, but sometimes there isn’t.
Even when we’re all staying home, life finds a way of getting busy again. When our son asked to start a garden, I envisioned a small one on the side of the house. Little did I know, his tiny dream would turn into a modest 995 square foot fenced in garden in the middle of a forest clearing. I was extremely busy this spring and summer with the garden. I thought my plate was full with gardening, writing and family. Then school started….sort of. I’m homeschooling our youngest for preschool and our son just started virtual school. Life just got a whole lot busier.
The first week of virtual school and home school was like a rollercoaster. We were excited and nervous about starting. We had some minor technical difficulties but once we got over the bumps we found our groove and had fun. It has all been a lot of work though. I spend a long time planning and preparing for school and researching and writing. I feel overwhelmed at times because I am a Pinterest mom, and want everything to be pretty and perfect. I find myself longing to take a break from it all and go down to the garden, even now as I write. The day is gone however, and so is the sun, so I will have to wait until the morning to visit the garden.
The garden has become my happy place and a calming space. Every morning I greet the garden saying, “good morning beautiful garden,” and smile. There’s a giant yellow sunflower that hangs over the garden door like the welcoming committee. It feels so inviting and it gives me such joy just looking at the beauty and wonder of it all. In our ever busy life, there is something so special and wonderful about the simplicity and beauty of nature. There are always butterflies on the colorful flowers in front of the garden and usually a bird or two nearby. I take my time and walk the white stone garden path to see what’s new in the garden before getting started working. I get a thrill out of discovering a zucchini that was hidden or finding ripened tomatoes. I love checking on the watermelon and pumpkins to see their growth. Once I’ve taken in all the beauty around me, I simply breathe.
The busyness and noise of the world are left behind and I can enjoy the calmness that being in nature provides. I listen to the birds sing and the wind rustle the leaves in the trees. If the children have come to the garden with me, I usually hear their sweet laughter as they dance and play. The garden is the perfect place to relax, unwind and find your balance when life keeps adding things to your plate.
Pre-pandemic, our family had a busy lifestyle. Reflecting now, I see how my lifestyle has changed over the years, from the socialite, to the academic, to the creative and now to the gardening lifestyle. I had never thought about a gardening lifestyle before. I was always too busy. Now that I have the time and space, I keep thinking about it. Some would describe a gardening lifestyle as a life spent in cooperation with nature. I like that idea. I think, at least for now, that I’d be content to sit in the middle of our garden and just breathe.