With the arrival of summer, I’m looking at my garden. And I’m groaning. I love the idea of gardening. It sounds so great–beautiful flowers, healthy veggies, cool and shady spots to sit with a cup of tea. I think the theory of gardening is amazing.
However, the reality of my gardening attempts seems to be fungus, rot, bugs, heat, slugs, weeds, and failure.
In my quest to simplify this year, I’m tackling my yard. And I have given myself permission to tear out most of the gardens. Last year I let most of them go, because the budget included exactly nothing to take care of them and I wasn’t in the best place and didn’t want to bother. This year, they’re wild. I’m not using a trowel and pruning shears to deal with them. I need a full-fledged shovel and branch loppers. A chainsaw wouldn’t hurt. But I will conquer them.
Destruction is kind of fun. I have found there are parts of simplifying that I enjoy. I love throwing things away. I love tearing things down. I should have gone into demolition. Give me a crow bar, a hammer, loppers, a shovel, and I have a blast.
Then, though, things have to be put back together. And in a garden, that means things have to be planted, and things are supposed to grow.
I am limiting my gardens to the foundation planting and a path along one side of my house, a spot I see from my kitchen. My youngest son and I have decided to use Asian gardens as our inspiration, because they are simple and feature things like stone lanterns and rocks. It’s not easy to kill a rock. Or I hope it isn’t. I’ll keep you posted on that.
My hope, of course, is to come up with something beautiful. Beauty out front that the world can see as it drives by. And beauty out back where I gaze while I wash dishes. I love beauty. I long for it. And when I fail–when beauty dies or leaves or isn’t within my grasp–it hurts.
Gardens can hurt. Homes can hurt. My dreams and visions are so much more than my abilities. I think many of those dreams and visions are anticipatory. The perfect garden is coming. The ultimate beauty of a world lit by a loving son–coming. Sometimes, when I’m in a garden fighting Japanese beetles or fungus or weeds, I have to stop and smile. The first garden didn’t have these problems. The next life will have gardens without these problems.
For now, I’m trying to make beauty with as few plants as possible, because we’re not to that next garden yet. This is the garden with the curse. And man, God makes the best curses, don’t you think? But imagine how awesome the next garden will be since I had to fight so hard for this one. Makes all of this worth it.
Note–it’s summer now. I’m going to spend more time trying to live a simple life and less time writing about it. So, my Simple Living Friday posts may come less often. I may wait until fall to talk about how I did this summer. I may not. But I’m cutting myself a little slack and trying to get a handle on things in my physical life before the school year rolls around again. Enjoy summer, everyone. Celebrate. Find beauty. Rest. Read a good book. And let God speak into the quiet.