I’m working on my garden.
My mother has an amazing green thumb. When I was a child, she worked in the garden every morning - mostly flowers with a few vegetables. She was a school teacher who had the summers off. (She planned that well.)
Now, my mother lives in a small house with no front yard and a small back patio which she transforms into a lush paradise every year.
|Begonias on my mother's front porch in Providence, RI|
|A corner of my mother's backyard patio|
Creating such beauty is one of my goals. I'd also like to have a large vegetable garden like my cousin Misa, who feeds her family and more from beds and beds of vegetables, berry bushes and fruit trees. She and her husband Tovias, who built the garden, also have a few dozen chickens which lay the yummiest eggs.
|My cousin Misa's vegetable and fruit garden in Sloatsburg, NY|
Right now I’m working on the basics: plants for the front yard. I live in a lovely, little house which came with virtually zero landscaping, save for one out-of-control Spirea. Terry from Cross Creek Nursery in Manlius (they have the most beautiful plants) came out and drew a plan with a mixture of shrubs and perennials. He told me how to prepare the soil, dig the holes, and so on.
I got right to work, following his drawing to mark the new outline of the garden. I thought I'd be ready to plant in no time. Then I discovered the rocks. It turns out the main garden is filled with pea stones instead of plants. About four to five inches deep in some places. Yes, I have a rock garden. And not the good kind.
Before I plant, I need to move the stones. They may be little, but they sure weigh a lot. A few scoops of the shovel and I can feel it in my back. Put too many in the wheelbarrow and it falls over or gets stuck in the stones or grass.
Removing all those rocks means I'm creating a shallow hole which needs to be filled. So, last weekend I made another trip to Cross Creek and came home with 20 bags of topsoil and compost. The bags weigh 40 pounds each. I loaded them two at a time onto a dolly and moved them to the side of the house. It's amazing the sense of accomplishment you can get from a few stacked bags of dirt.
|Soil and compost awaits|
Then, last week, I was having a particularly difficult day. So, I stepped outside to move some rocks. Instantly, I felt better. Calmer. More peaceful. That's when I realized that my rock garden wasn't a problem. It was a gift. When I'm moving the stones - or the 40 pound bags of soil to replace them - I don't think about anything else. I can't or I might pull a muscle or dump a load of rocks on the lawn or some such thing. It's like climbing a mountain, which I did yesterday... Good Luck Cliffs near Piseco Lake. It's a mostly flat, easy trail until you get to the last half mile, which seems to go straight up. You have to focus completely or you'll fall or twist an ankle or lose the trail and get lost. And when you're focused on the climb, you can't be focused on your mind.
|On top of Good Luck Cliffs|
in the Southern Adirondacks
It really doesn't matter whether you're hauling or shoveling or climbing. In fact, any physical activity will do. The old expression - "Move a muscle. Change a thought" - stands true. When you move, you feel better, lighter, clearer, happier. Things that bothered you don't seem to matter so much. You get out of your head and into your body and then the peace comes through.