Puttering

I am the Queen of Putter. And the garden is my realm. I believe this was a hidden genetic trait that emerged in my actions in my late 40s.

As a teenager I was quite critical of my father’s seemingly senseless weeding. We had a fairly large yard and he would be on hands and knees, totally focussed on pulling every little invader, for hours at a time.

I fully came to this behavior in Spokane, WA and Newport, OR when I found myself at the end of a 16 year hospice career that had left me emotionally exhausted and totally spent. I hung on to this demanding work for “a little longer” with a beginning garden habit that involved planting flowers, weeding, and watering for hours on end. It provided me with grounding, focus, a sense of accomplishment and a balance of hope and joy in a sea of death and grief. It has morphed into a passion and has restored my soul.

I just became a Master Gardener here in New Mexico and am fiercely experimenting to become proficient at growing things in the desert. Cacti, of course, are a no-brainer but I have now accomplished pomegranates, a multitude of roses, vines and succulents. My neighbors believe me to be a bit crazy and watch for my next attempt at something new. There have been many failures!

As I reflect on my Dad with Father’s Day coming, I honor his memory as I now fully “get” that over many years of his wife’s (my mom’s) dying the garden puttering was about solace, finding hope in the despair and keeping him grounded when everything was falling apart.

No surprise that through most of this pandemic to date you can find me in back weeding, watering and planting.

Stay safe and may your garden grow!

Learning with Grasshoppers

Meet George.

He is a 2” grasshopper who lives in the salvia plants by my fence on the north side of my garden.

We have become friends.

George is not excitable like most grasshoppers who will launch themselves forcefully and quickly to escape perceived danger.

He is a gentleman and quite thoughtful.

I arrive at his plants and wait. After much consideration George will take a short, dignified hop to merely get out of my way – not in a hurry and no frenzy. He then watches carefully, perhaps supervising, as I complete my watering or pruning tasks. Then as I finish George will return to his home under the raised water dish just as carefully.

We are developing a relationship of respect.

He never ventures further than 2 feet. This is well within my range should I feel inclined to go after him. I am careful not to start watering his plants until he is safely out of the way. Our actions are non-hurried and intentional.

So goes one of my treasured daily rituals!

I know it is important to practice full moment living by noticing what is happening around me. There are miracles in kairos living if one learns to savor each opportunity.