When I was a teenager I would look at my parents working in the yard and would think “Wow that is such a waste of time!”. I was certain I would have a bland yard with all low maintenance shrubs because I would not be wasting my time with yard work.
Well life is funny and here I am 34 years old enjoying yard work. I think work is a harsh word for the act of taking care of plants in a yard.
Let’s call it yard meditation.
About five years ago I went through a divorce. I spent a year at my parents house. That year was a very transformative year for me in many ways. I helped my parents out but largely they didn’t want the help. Many of the chores I had become accustomed to doing I no longer had to do.
I didn’t have to make a trip to the grocery store every week, cut the grass, go to home depot, etc. I only saw my kids half the time. A transition that was very difficult but honestly I have come to enjoy the days to myself and Im much more present when they are with me.
I had free time that I haven’t had in a very long time. It’s incredible what the mind will do when it’s not being constantly occupied with a “To Do List”.
I became very creative, at least for me.
I would draw characters on post it notes and put them in my kids lunch box. I was taking pictures of things in nature that I previously would past by. That spring my parents yard came to life and it was like I was seeing it for the first time. Noticing all the vibrant colors in the flowers. Capturing pictures of morning dew on their petals. They have a large cherry tree that absolute explodes with pink flowers. The flowers are only on the tree for about two weeks and then they all fall off. That tree has been there my whole childhood and I never truly took in its beauty until that spring. That tree is a great teacher. The beauty in life can be brief, savor it while it’s here.
After a year it was time to move on and I started to look for a home. I found a house that had a yard filled with plants but it was a mess.
It reminded me of the secret garden.
The beauty was still there but it needed some care. With an offer accepted my girlfriend (now my wife) and I moved in and got to work. This was not a fun time in the yard. We initially cleared out all the flower beds and put mulch down. There was probably 10 inches of leaves and pine needles to remove!
Back to reality
That year was tough. My creative vision had faded. I was back to cooking, going to the grocery store, making trips to home depot and working at a new job. There’s an adjustment phase to moving in with another human. Our relationship was feeling the pressure. Between Mrs. Do Good adjusting to living with my two boys and me adjusting to living with a crazy dog there was no time for smelling the flowers.
Life settles out and the house has been molding into our home over the last three years. Im starting to get my creative vision back. This blog is a part of that process! This year I SEE my yard. The spring reveals so many beautiful plants that burst into life.
Hummingbirds come buzzing to my feeders, baby birds are chirping in the bird houses around the yard, the wind chime plays a beautiful song, and I’m even taking pictures of the flowers again.
This is the year that the work has paid off. It’s very therapeutic to care for the plants. The calming effect of the wind on my skin and the sounds of nature fill my cup. My yard is a work of art that comes to life in the spring and ultimately dies in the winter. Like a Tibetan buddhist who creates a beautiful sand mandala and as soon as its done destroys it. Nature shows us the same impermance. I call it yard meditation because I feel like I’m in a state of flow when I am completing a task. Like the buddhist, I know that the slate will be wiped clean when the winter comes and the process will start all over again next spring. I work is never done. There is no completion. I find sola