Beginner's Heart

the author's

the author’s

This is what I’m focusing on right now. NOT my aching back (from weeding all yesterday morning.) NOT the front beds, still to be done. NOT the sad meeting with a lawyer today, and the overwhelming feeling I have that life isn’t fair.

Nope. I’m inhaling purple sage & Abraham Darby climbing roses. Planted 10+ years ago, and now in fine health. All those springs & summer & autumns & even winters — watering, pruning, feeding w/ organic rose food, mulching w/ cedar and leaves. All that WORK, in other words. Blooming tangibly, fragrantly, beautifully.

But you know what? I work hard at many things, and don’t get fragrant roses & purple spires for my effort. I can grade papers for hours and only have a cramped brain to show for it. I can mop the kitchen floor and the dogs return it to muddy chaos in moments. And don’t get me started on the Sisyphean task of laundry!

This is why I love gardening — it rewards you. Obviously. Materially.  Not even touching on things like exercise, healthy air, the tranquillising green medicine of leaves and being outside.

So today? I’m looking for the material rewards (I’m such a baby) that grow from the work I put in that seems thankless: cleaning, LAUNDRY (notice a theme?), making beds. Grocery shopping, doctor’s appointments. Even, sometimes, the progress I try to make in beginner’s heart. Because all too often what I see isn’t where I’ve come from. It’s where I haven’t arrived yet: that nebulous place always over the horizon that would feel like success.

I suspect it will smell like roses.

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