Through Quarantine, Health Problems & Growing Things I Am Learning….
Disclaimer: I am not a writer. What I am, is a visual artist who sometimes finds that writing about things, helps me organize my thoughts and plan for projects, the day, the week, etc. maybe they will help you too.
Providing a disclaimer almost feels like a cop out as I begin to share this story. Why do I do that? Another story for another day.
My story begins after an unplanned move landed my partner and I six hours away from our hometown, yet still in the same state. (I know, weird) I felt a shift and worsening in some chronic health problems as I adjusted to a totally new climate. Fortunately, we were in a place that it is possible for us to cut back to one income. Before you roll your eyes, please know this decision meant a tightening in our budget belts. And a lot of work towards creating a simpl(er) life. The details of this change are not what I came here to share.
Gardening. I am not talking about our parents or grandparents type of gardening. The hard labor of necessity, and back breaking work, is not for the meek or, if I am honest, me. I am old enough to have knowledge of that physicality and intensive work first hand, and I am still young enough to know it is NOT what I need in my life. I do not garden in a flowery patterned big hat or belong to a garden club type either. While not crazy about it, I am not afraid of dirt under my fingernails, or working up a good sweat. I’ve dedicated years of work to previous homes. But when my husband fell in love with a small cottage sitting on little over an acre of overgrown uncared for country’ish property outside of town, I mentally began rolling up my sleeves and wondering where I had packed my gardening tools.
If I may digress here, I’d like to add that I am not a country girl, i was raised in or close to town. I like take out delivery. I do not like bears, coyotes, snakes and other nocturnal creatures that scurry about in the late hours of the night.
Just over two years in our cottage-like, mid century built home, we’ve found ourselves in the midst of Pandemic 2020. And with my health problems and forced quarantine, I find myself unable to paint consistently, reading until my eyes were blurry, and baking and cooking until I am sick of it and cleaning up my messes. Suddenly…spring arrves! (imagine warm golden rays of sunlight infusing me as I gaze adoring out a window-sorry-the artist in me).
My partner (I’ll call JD from here on) and I jumped up, well maybe not jumped-but you get the idea, and began to attack the overgrown grass, multitude of scrub and trees who keep reappearing. It is the land of never ending weeds and vines! Months later, we are beginning to see through the tangle of wild vines and mass of weeds, we found the property line fences. We have begun to plot and create a few garden/landscape beds, plant shrubs, perennials, and lovingly spread gallons of water as we encourage our plant babies out of the ground and into glorious blooms.
All through this process I have struggled to keep up-because of my health. It makes me angry, sad, and at times so frustrated I just give in to some cleansing tears. It is so not easy especially when the sub-tropical humidity jumps to super muggy-sauna level, and I feel like giving up. I am not used to having limitations, and I have not always taken it with the grace I should. I am (it is a WIP) learning to pace myself and that slowing down some is not the worst thing in the world. It does not mean I can’t get to the finish line, I’ll just do it a little slower. In my rush and “get EVERYTHING done” viewpoint of life, I see that I have missed a lot of simple joys as I rushed along.
I am learning to attune myself more to the cycles of nature.
I am learning to respect my body and my health-along with its limits, while the physical act of gardening is helping me build strength and energy.
I am learning that in taking better care of myself, in turn, my body and my relationship with JD are taking care of me.
Take good care of yourself.