If you’ve been wondering where I’ve been, you can find me in the garden. Next to running, gardening is one of my most cherished activities. When I hurt my back in 2011, friends asked if it was a running injury. “No, a gardening injury,” I’d reply.
When I moved into my house almost 10 years ago I had a vision for an enormous – meditative – wild flower garden, a big private green lawn where my daughter and dog could play, a patio with a fire pit that could host gatherings of friends or be a quiet retreat. As purchased, the house had none of that.
But as I said, I had a vision; which I turned into a plan (more on the importance of having a plan in July). That project became an escape, like my running, from all the stress life was throwing at me for all those years. Like an artist whose craft becomes the outlet for their pain, I created a masterpiece amid the turmoil.
The spring I was diagnosed with breast cancer (2014), I never trimmed the hedge. I got behind on the weeding and pruning and applications of deer repellent.* After my husband’s death the following fall, I felt defeated; no longer at home in the house we had shared. I held it together for my daughter; she wanted to stay. We have made the best of being here, hosting lots of gatherings of friends. I built a bigger fire pit.
For some reason though, I just couldn’t bring myself to get back out in the garden. The overgrowth was overwhelming, yes; but there was something else. Perhaps I didn’t need the escape. Or perhaps I wasn’t ready. About two weeks ago, I went out there and started chipping away at the weeds. Trimming. Salvaging. Re-creating. Meditating.
The back yard; mowed lawn and trimmed hedge.
I do an assessment exercise with my clients when we are trying to take aim at an area in their life on which they would like coaching. Along with romantic relationships, family, friends, social life, health, and career is “environment.” The environment in which we live is very important and has an affect on our well being – our mental health.
This weekend I will host friends for my town’s annual fireworks display (it’s at the park right across the street). I spent hours upon hours over the last couple weeks getting the garden ready. My environment is exactly what I want it to be. And I so happy to be able to share it.
*Home-made Deer Repellent: Mix in a large watering can…1 egg (beaten), 1/2 cup whole milk, 1 tbs cooking oil, 1 tbs liquid dish soap, 1 gallon of water. Sprinkle on plants deer tend to eat (like Hostas and Black-eyed Susans), around the perimeter of the garden and at the base of trees. Re-apply every 6-8 weeks (from spring through fall) or after a heavy rain.
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