Monday, July 9, 2012

Small lessons learned from small acts.....

For those who know me, I love to garden. Flowers, not veggies. Not that there is anything wrong with veggies, I just leave those up to the farmers, and support local stands or farmer's markets. I'm a flower girl. When we bought our home 14 years ago we inherited perennial beds. Overgrown, old bulbs, a mish mash of design and function. I didn't know a tulip from an iris, let alone a cone flower. One of my neighbors came over one evening and helped me decipher what was what. Thus a love of gardening was born.

Since then I've spent years reworking the beds, and even tearing out, redesiging, adding to etc. until pretty much the entire yard is bordered with flower beds. This is a passion of mine, even in my drinking days I loved to garden. But when July came I used to get very lazy with my gardens. It was too hot to enjoy them, I didn't feel like weeding, I just watered to get by. In otherwords I didn't know how to nuture.

Nuturing was something I learned through the program of AA. It taught me that in order to nuture, I had to have patience. I may plant one year, and then have to wait another to see results. That all things have to have a certain amount of care. All things bloom, and all things die. Sometimes bugs will destroy something that only 24 hours ago was beautiful. That not all things will develope the way I wanted them to. And that there are so many things I cannot control such as drought, heat, frost, chipmunks etc....

So I had a revelation of sorts the other night as I was watering. Rain has been scarce here in the Midwest. Not to mention the heat index was at 105 degrees most of the last 7 days. So I was watering for the second time in one day and I began to really look at the beds. What was working, what might need reworking and I realized that through the program I had learned how to really care for something I loved. I was weeding all the beds at least once a week, removing/dead heading once a week, translplanting, dividing, and watering. Watering slowly and methodically like my grandfather did. Taking my time and not being in a hurry simply to check one more task off my list. I found that I was taking great pleasure in the simple act of caring. And why? Because I was getting so much in return.

These beds allow me to think. They allow me to listen to the birds chirping around me. To notice the big bumble bees pollenating as they buzz from flower to flower. To watch the grasses gently swaying in the wind, and to enjoy the butterflies as they flutter through the folliage. A few hours spent in my gardens and I do not need a therapist. They have taught me to slow down, to wait for the fruits of my labors to appear. But they've also taught me something else.

They've taught me that my gardens will never be complete. They need room to grow, they are ever changing, they need improvements, they need patience to come into their own time. Just like us. As hokey as it sounds a garden is a perfect metaphore for life. Because just like those beautiful plants we all need room to grow, to change, to nuture and be nutured, and to evolve into something wonderful....


  1. there is def something spiritual to gardening...putting your hands in the soil...caring for them...seeing them at the whims of nature...and the slowing down you must do to care for them...

  2. Descriptive and evocative writing, thanks for sharing.

  3. Living in rural MN, I grew up hearing gardening analogies from the pulpit to the classroom! As a result , I have written my share of these. Yours is beautiful, especially tied in to AA :)

    Stay cool - the wknd will be a HOT one

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    1. oops, well I posted a comment then it looked like I posted it twice, so I deleted one of them and now it's gone! Well, I was just saying that today I saw a sign at a church that I drive by often (they have one of those moveable letters signs) that reminded me of your post. It said "plant seeds and tend, then let God do the rest". I liked that, thought it was a nice thought for AA too. ...Hi, I'm Amy. I live in Austin, TX. I'm new to AA, just got 60 days last week. I found your blog the other day after I searched "high bottom alcoholic" on google. Thats what I am too. I was so happy to find your blog! I love the title! : )

    2. We have many gardens here. My wife really loves flowers. The vegetable garden is lovely too. They provide a place to reflect and are a joy to the eye.