Dirt Under My Nails
Over the weekend, me and the fam made the ceremonial trek to a local nursery and loaded up on flowers and plants to mark the awakening of spring.
It’s an annual ritual that my husband and I have been actively partaking in for years, and now that we have two offspring, we just drag them along.
There was a time in our marriage that we didn’t know squat about gardening and lawn care, but over the years we’ve done our fair share of homework, which has led us to the world of organic gardening and drought-tolerant plants. We’ve come to know such specimens as the native Salvia, which love the Texas heat, or the Cast Iron plant, a drought-tolerant, shade lover that could probably survive a nuclear war.
We feed our lawn organic fertilizer, dried molasses and corn gluten, and mow the leaves that settle in our yard for added nutrients. If one of our sons’ discovers an ant pile, it gets vinegar, and for pesky plant-eating bugs, we rely on garden spiders and lady bugs to keep them at bay. We feed ripe banana peels to my Woodland and Holly ferns, chopping them up and placing them at their base. We put seeds out for the birds and nectar for the Humming birds. And oh, you should see the butterflies each season that grace our space.
The Artistry Of Gardening
Saturday I spent four and a half hours outside with my plants, bent over and on my knees, cultivating the soil, lugging the bags of potting mix and mulch to and fro – all so I could transform my dormant clay planters into explosions of color and texture for spring.
This is always when my inner artist has the most fun. For a few short hours, I solely focus on creating portraits of beauty with striking combinations of plants and flowers. Unless there’s an emergency, this is my time to be alone and cultivate my creativity. My husband handles the kids and I, in turn, enter my zone.
But this “garden zone” of mine is more than just playing in the dirt. For me, it’s pure artistry, just like a painter or sculptor honing her craft. It helps me exercise my creative muscles. It’s a form of meditation of nature’s wondrous beauty. As I kneed through the dirt and design my clusters of plants, suddenly things start to reveal themselves, such as a new plot twist for that novel I’m writing, an idea for a blog post (like the one you are reading now) or the calming realization that right now at this precise moment in time, I don’t have to worry about anything – or anyone – except those beautiful little plants. How refreshing.
At the end of the day, when my muscles are sore and my back aches, I take a stroll around the yard to admire my creations, looking forward to the next few months of taking care of them and watching them grow. Kinda like my creativity … I want it to keep growing – EXPANDING – so I might continue to bring forth stories that entertain, tantalize and challenge conventional thought and wisdom. I do this to keep myself going, to take a breath, to cultivate what God has given me and to nurture the beauty and creativity that He has planted in my soul.
As I continue along my journey through THE ARTIST WAY, I realize more and more that my creativity is not limited just to writing. There’s a vast array of artistic possibilities just waiting to take hold, many of which stem from my own interests and buried dreams. And that’s exactly what we’ll discuss next time my friends - suppressed interests and neglected dreams, both yours and mine.