Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Creating Space in Your Garden/Life/Writing

I did a lot of gardening this weekend. Weeding, mostly, but also "editing." 

Since the last time I'd visited my garden, the plants had tripled in size and now looked like commuters in a subway car at rush hour. The less aggressive ones, like Jacob's ladder, were being crushed by the robust day lilies and the ever-encroaching lady's mantle. The solomon seal had marched its way across the bed, infiltrating and colonizing neighboring settlements. Nothing, it seemed, could stop its relentless assault. 

I have long held the belief that it's sacrilegious to divide plants in June in Vermont. Our season is so short I felt it my duty to let each plant fully manifest its destiny until September. Besides, I wanted as much color as each plant could muster.

But I found myself craving space. Each plant had grown indistinct. What I faced was a mass of leafy green giants, elbowing one another aside in their frenzy to attract pollinators. I hate to anthropomorphize, but some plants are greedy.

So I started pulling and digging, first lily-of-the-valley, and then violets, and iris, and gooseneck loosestrife. I carved out pathways and established boundaries. Now that I can see where one ends and the next begins, each plant has taken on an identity. More, I found, isn't necessarily better. Neither is bigger.

This got me wondering what other areas of my life might benefit from a little space. My writing? My volunteer work? My teaching? Each of my friends? My family? Exercise? Do I crowd so much into each day that I can't enjoy and appreciate the component parts?

If so, how do I go about making spaces? Something to think about.