The Girl with The Dirt on Her Knees
The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul. - Alfred Austin
When you change your environment, you open yourself up to the opportunity to discover new things, experience a wide range of emotion, and ultimately reinvigorate your soul. The depth of that emotion can really supercharge your creative energy, particularly when you see change as an opportunity rather than a calamity.
Moving to Chatham was not my lifelong dream, but I am determined to make the best of my life here. This is the first time I have owned a home on my own and with that comes a ton of maintenance. That’s the work I had always left to my spouse. So now I am learning to put things together and to garden like I never have before. The spring thaw revealed that the landscaping around my house was downright awful and to make matters worse, the municipality came and dug up my front lawn to work on the sewer, leaving me with quite a muddy mess to deal with.
The thought of managing the cleanup in the front was a bit daunting, so I started with what seemed easier. I built a garden bed in the back corner of my yard. I dug out the grass, added several bags of garden soil to create some elevation, bought some perennials and a boxwood, added mulch, stood back and saw that it was good. I must say I rather enjoyed that experience.
Next, was my ugly garage that needed to be covered. The previous owner put some bricks and crap in front of a broken window and I don’t what else, but I thought that perhaps it was time to go to the garden centre and see what I might find to inexpensively cover up the mess. Tall grasses came to my mind and while I was wandering around, I discovered a beautiful little Korean fir with inverted needles that were really lovely. I had a similar tree in one of my previous houses. My ex-husband was an extraordinary gardener and I learned a lot from listening to him talk about gardening. I decided I needed help loading that tree onto a cart and I was also going to need some soil delivered. In comes the cute garden centre guy. He flirted with me asking me what perfume I was wearing. I batted my eyelashes somewhat and said I wasn’t wearing any. Gardening was suddenly becoming even more fun.
That trip to the garden centre gave me enough for two more beds in the back. One would replace the ugly chicken wire eyesore called a vegetable garden left by the previous homeowner. Removing that meant that I had to get someone in to put a proper fence in its place as well. I found a handyman who did great work. So, while my handyman did his handy things around my house, I built several gardens at the back and front of my house and discovered a joy I never imagined could come from such physically strenuous work.
“You’re alright for a girl.” - Ray the handyman
The weather was hot and I wanted to start enjoying summer’s arrival, so I was driven to complete the work as soon as possible. I solicited a little help from my two adult sons and spent days raking rocks, shoveling, hauling and dumping soil, planting, fertilizing, placing statues and mulching. Ray the handyman was impressed. The cute garden centre guy made a boulder delivery and was also impressed. I was impressed that I was having the time of my life sweating and getting covered with dirt. I think it was the purest feeling of joy I ever experienced. I had no idea I could love working in the garden so much. The experience prompted me to ask how much our thinking and behaviour limits us. How much do we deny ourselves by not trying new things? How much joy do we rob from others by discouraging their effort?
Taking risks and trying new things requires a willingness to live with the consequences, or at least a willingness to work toward making things right. Most people remain stuck in life because they are afraid of not being able to fully control the outcome. The thing is, the outcome (and how you interpret it) is completely tied to your attitude. No, I don’t have all of the nice things I used to have, but I love my cute little house and more importantly, I feel joy every day. I love my life. I am the girl with the dirt on her knees.
Check out some of my other beBee blogs about life, change and finding inspiration.