Thursday, July 21, 2011

Angel in the Schist: Motivation

Post 1
Angel at the Door

The first step is motivation.

Say, as with many people, you hit a time in your life when nothing comes together. No matter how much love, energy, kindness, intelligence, imagination, sensitivity and hard work you throw at things, nothing sticks. That was me. Except for in my private life...and then slowly, surprisingly, in my garden. 

My husband and I had recently bought a ramshackling Wissahickon Schist rehabber, and the shady, clay-hard front yard needed attention. There was nothing but scraggle grass, boring pachysandra, even more boring ivy, and two lonely dogwoods sticking up like  disjointed masts towering over our ship of weedy unfloral boredom.

So I put in some annuals, impatiences and coleus, gave them water and fertilizer, then stood back as they took off. How did they ever get so big? And beautiful. These plants quadrupled in a season.
There is an Indian proverb or axiom that says that everyone is a house with four rooms, a physical, a mental, an emotional, and a spiritual. Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time but, unless we go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person.    Rumer Godden. A House with Four Rooms 
Soon I added a few perennials. I took out books on gardening from the library. I talked to neighbors and family and before I knew it they were giving me starts and seeds. A tiny slice off a gigantic plant would soon become another gigantic plant. What was this power?
There seem to be but three ways for a nation to acquire wealth. The first is by war, as the Romans did, in plundering their conquered neighbors. This is robbery. The second by commerce, which is generally cheating. The third by agriculture, the only honest way, wherein man receives a real increase of the seed thrown into the ground, in a kind of continual miracle, wrought by the hand of God in his favor, as a reward for his innocent life and his virtuous industry.      Ben Franklin

The Rose Bower

My motivation started with the realization that even in a time of hardship, a garden is a place where good effort can meet good reward. From this my motivation was fed by a sense of being reintroduced to an old friend, a quiet, unrecognized friend who was and is at the center of everything. 

...Which is how I kicked up against the gardener's paradox: 

As the gardener makes a garden, the garden makes them.

1 comment:

Mike said...

What a beautiful blog. Cannot wait to watch it grow