In the pre-dawn stillness yesterday morning I lay awake, contemplating the coming day. Its square on the calendar was empty. I love non-designated days with their freedom to pursue whatever tasks come to mind. One of retirement’s perks! I tugged the duvet close and snuggled down to think about what I might undertake once daylight broke.
My mind began lobbing ‘could’ and ‘should’ ideas at me like a tennis ball machine. Soon I was burrowing deeper and wishing I could go back to sleep, but it was too late. I was overwhelmed with mental clutter. If you could have seen into my head you would think it looked a lot like my gardens.
A landscape designer would be horrified by the gardens here. In each of the eighteen or so years we’ve lived on this rural property we’ve planted a few things — sometimes a half-dozen new perennials, sometimes a woody shrub or another tree. Goodness knows we don’t need any more of the latter! Our home is surrounded on four sides by towering trees…lots of cedar, hemlock and fir interspersed with a few poplar and alder. But one can’t really consider them ‘landscape’ trees, so I’ve added others like Japanese Maple and Dogwood.
Hubby and I have created assorted garden beds around part of the yard’s perimeter, prying out the boulders and filling the holes with whatever needed planting. There was never much planning done, except to choose things that could cope with the soil acidity and abundant shade. We have a well for water, and once things have been established we don’t waste any on them, so they also have to be hardy and drought tolerant.
The beds are a mishmash. That’s the nicest thing I can say about them. In one area Solomon’s Seal has all but choked out a clump of Siberian Iris and one white Astilbe. Wild ferns poke out from the middle of sprawling Junipers, and everything leans in the direction of the sun, eventually overlaying whatever is in front.
It’s a muddle.
Except for a few tubs and baskets on the deck, we don’t plant annuals in the backyard. In fact, we don’t plant them in the front either, except for a small bed that edges the sidewalk at the front door. For the past several years I’ve bought one flat of colourful bedding plants, usually Begonias, and tucked them into unoccupied nooks and crannies. It’s my one concession to summer colour…a bright spot in the chaos of green. I try to remember to water them in May and June, but once summer comes, they’re on their own like everything else. I am always surprised that they survive and sometimes even flourish.
It’s all somewhat reminiscent of what comes out of my cluttered mind. Little ideas germinate and manage to develop into potential stories. I nurture them along for the first while and then, without plotting or planning, give them the freedom to grow or not. Most times they surprise me by producing an abundance of words. Occasionally, like one I’m considering now, they shrivel up and disappear from the page. The fact is, not all ideas are sturdy enough to last.
It can be discouraging in writing when enthusiasm for what seemed like a good idea fades; or in gardening, when a pot of cheery marguerites suddenly stops blooming and turns brown; or in life, when some days just seem like too much. But that’s my reality. Fortunately, there’s always another idea, a fresh blossom or new day coming.
Have you ever abandoned what at first seemed like a promising idea? Do you save it for reconsideration later, or toss it altogether?
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7 thoughts on “The clutter in my life, garden and writing… better known as reality”
Reminds me somewhat of here.
I have an abundance of ideas, but lack the time to pursue many of them. If one is particularly strong, I’ll focus on and run with it. My trilogy is an example of this.
Now that the trilogy is almost done, I’m examining ideas for the next project. It’s rather like digging through boxes in an attic, searching for an item you put away for safekeeping.
The photos are so beautiful. I love this time of year. Wish we have some maples in our yard though. The reds are magnificent.
The answer to both of your questions is, “Yes, all the time!”
I love gardens that are a muddle. They are much more creative than the well thought out overly organized ones. As it is so for writers, we need chaos to be creative. I have thrown out way more ideas than I have put to paper. Glad I’m not the only one who can’t go back to sleep for all the ideas rattling around in my head!
Oh, I am enjoying so much reading your blog.
Love the way you deal with words and dance with them!
I am constantly, battling against ideas, when I should actually be in peace with them. Anyway, I always write them down, leave it there to grow when the right time arrives, when necessary, when I am mature and inspired enough to bring it to life.
Never give up on what you love, do it until it dies in you or until you die.
I’m a little late getting here to read all your comments, but thank you all for your visit and your feedback. I always love hearing from you. 🙂