On Saturday, I went to the garden. The weeds have never been this bad, this prolific, this early. They're grouped and layered, thick as thieves, between the beds and around the shrubs and flowers (blooming already, too soon), leeching nutrients from the soil, stealing food from wanted plants and generally trashing up the place. The task seemed daunting, totally overwhelming, but with a fierce desire to keep my home looking beautiful, and a bit of inspiration from my friend Carmen who has been crazily working her plots, I pulled on my boots & gloves and went to work. To my surprise, it was exactly what we both needed.
We're heading into our fifth summer together, the garden and I. We've been through thick and thin - snow, deep freezes, successive days of near 100 degree heat, successive days of winter rain, successive days of drought, irrigation issues, japanese beetles and tomato horn worms, fungus, deer, squirrels and chipmunks, design and redesign, praise, ridicule, and a lawsuit. We'll take on anything!
The beginning of garden season means no more leisurely Sunday mornings sipping coffee in pajamas and reading a book. It means one quick cup of coffee and heading out the door before the day gets too hot. It means insect control and pollen. It means sore back and legs. It means commitment to a hobby that started so innocently, so temporarily, because I just wanted to see if I could, grow, I mean. I'm proud to have learned I can - and not just weeds, though nine garbage bags lining the street might suggest otherwise. It's an interest that promises more to come.
There are countless blooms open already, irises, flowering almond, red sage, a few ground covers I don't know the name of in purple and yellow, and lots of bright green new growth. I took the weekend to clear out leaves from last Fall - I like to leave them over the winter (no pun intended) to act as a warming mulch for tender perennials - and pull stubborn weeds and roots from the pathways. I expect to spend the week out there. Needless to say, my schedule has taken a severe shift in priority. And as I settled into yard work the other day, I realized the shift was a much needed break from my obsessive dedication to Mable and our new venture, such as promotion and new cartoons and products, not to mention other current pursuits - writing another great piece of fiction to send to the magazine that sent me a hand-noted rejection letter (which I wrote about last week) and those graphic design projects knocking around my head and my freelance career as both a copywriter and designer. Suddenly my gardening interest was not a bane but a relief. I love gardening! I love being outdoors, even pulling weeds has a zen about it, a refreshing opportunity to let the mind sail, a justified excuse to sit on the ground and play in the dirt. I love the anticipation of a colorful, edible landscape. I love seeing that I CAN balance all my interests.
Having so many interests often feels, well, crazy. How to pursue them each in a successful manner is a challenge - and of course, part of the draw. It's a wee bit unconvential as well, and certainly against the educational grain, which teaches us we can only be successful if we specialize. I can't choose Just ONE Thing. I can't ignore all the other possiblities. And as it turns out, I am part of a growing group of folks that lead similar lives.
Emilie's a multipotentialite - or multipod - just like me. She is and has been a blogger and writer (two books out, one an awesome free download called "The 'Undeclared for Life' Manifesto"), musician, website designer, filmmaker and law student. What Emilie understands is that we with many interests are not satisfied - not happy - with choosing just one path. Our paths are many and intersecting and inter-twined. One feeds off another. I love this post about how being kinda good in many fields is ideal for entrepreneurs & start-ups. If you feel you are one of our tribe, please check out what she has to say. It's empowering and inspiring and helps you get back to work, which is what multipods are all about; working to make our varied interests fruitful.
Back in the garden, I've got a few more winter crops
Being outside, away from the computer and drawing table and homemade table top photo studio allowed my mind to wander freely into other corners, deadlines aside. I had some great creative thoughts, and though my body aches from using muscles in unpracticed positions, I feel rejuvenated. The weekend left me feeling ebullient and ethereal, unburdened, unworried, and beautifully abstract. Sort of like this:
The weeds may have suffered this busy fool gladly, and good riddance to them. But I embrace their existence for the opportunity they've given me to think while digging, to knock around a few new exciting ideas, to soak up the joy of doing something I enjoy, of pursuing and maintaining a curiosity, and for the chance to celebrate who I am and what I can accomplish.