Thinking Out Loud

I spend a lot of time in other people’s gardens. This morning I spent some time in my own. It was an enlightening experience. I found that the garden revealed itself to me as deserving of a much higher place on my list of priorities than it has been holding. Number two in fact, right after taking care of my own health.

My garden has played second fiddle to a lot of other things for years. Jobs, volunteer work, laundry, housework — the usual suspects. You might think that working as a freelance writer provides more time for gardening and it should. But only in theory.

In one sense, gardening is a very selfish act. Whether we do it as a hobby, for the exercise, as an experiment, or as a means of leaving our mark on the world, it’s always all about ourselves. It’s wonderful when family and friends express pleasure in sharing the beautiful result of our efforts, but we continue to garden even when they don’t. Taking the time to do a thing of which we are the sole beneficiary produces a lot of guilt, or at least the need for justification. So we hold ourselves back and do something else instead.

Working in our own garden is not going to change the world. But it can change our world. This morning I stepped across that great divide and allowed the fresh air to blow through my mind, clearing out the cobwebs that bound me to what I am “supposed to” do. Instead, I did what was good for me. And my garden rewarded me with a gift — a new outlook on life.

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