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Gardening Guilt

After a summer of neglect, my flower garden was full of reproach when I started a bit of weeding this afternoon. It’s just too hot here to enjoy such activities in summer, plus I’d rather be on the water then. (Or lounging in the AC reading a novel.)

So I expect a garden to look after itself during the hot months. And what I encountered this afternoon was: bugs and blight and drought-damaged plants and the creeping trails made by moles and voles. Plus, some flowers. I would like to be able to focus on those flowers–and the oranges on the mock-orange. But it’s hard not to berate oneself while standing knee-deep in weeds, dead stalks, and the accusing survivors.

It’s a hobby, I tell myself, not a moral obligation.

Also, I’m convinced that the only true waste of time is berating one’s self–or others, for that matter. But it’s very hard to stop.

So I kept weeding and pruning. Didn’t yield to the impulse to simply toss the clippers and give it up. I give myself credit for that.

This is one more example of a garden as teacher and provocateur. I’ve always liked the saying: if someone wants to rule the world, let them first cultivate a little plot of land. It’s humbling.

My bold goal becomes simply to keep going, to fix what I can.

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Categories: courage and fear, guilt, obsessiveness

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