I was a-wandering and a-gathering in the garden this morning, after my walk with Burnsy, putting together a fresh bouquet for the kitchen. There’s something so precious to me about this early outside ramble with clippers in my hand, working my way from end to end of our cultivated space, adding Cosmos to Love in a Mist to Sweet Peas to roses to lavender, the way the colors come together, the way each flower is unique and so gorgeous in its own right and then so much more gorgeous in combination, the way each time I put a bouquet together it’s the first and last time those particular flowers will be together in that particular way. It’s beautiful and fleeting. It’s a feast for the eyes. It makes me deeply, deeply happy.
The wander itself is precious to me. I am thoughtful and thoughtless at the same time, fully engaged in what my eyes see, mind at rest, going where it will. It’s maybe 10 minutes, tops.
That bouquet-gathering can feel like the most productive 10 minutes of my day or my week.
The ideas, the connections, that slide in when I’m busy with the clippers? Unreal.
Today it was about how so many of the flowers we have now are flowers we planted a long time ago. Some are recent additions, but many are perennial or, best of all, volunteers, annuals that we planted once and that have re-seeded themselves, popping up & surprising us year after year. All of them are here because of some decision made at some point before today, a decision based on color or smell or delight. Whatever that decision or plan was is long-gone; what’s left in this glory of petals and shapes. Suddenly today I saw my husband and me as coral, gradually over time building out this life-rich reef that we and the teeming birds and the bees and all the other animals in our neighborhood thrive on.
I thought about how we’ve been at this for almost 22 years now, digging our hands into this piece of land repeatedly, amending this soil consistently. Work that is not work. Devoted. Delighted.
And then I thought about some conversations I’ve had recently with clients. Because there’s no separation in my mind at all between any of it.
How discouraged have been some of these voices I’ve heard over the past few weeks, these visionary creative inspiring women’s voices. Over and over I’ve heard a variation of, “I don’t know, maybe it’s not working, maybe I should just quit.” These entrepreneurs and the genius they’re bringing to serving others: Exhausted. Worn out. Uncertain.
Because that’s the truth of how it is sometimes, as a creator, as a maker of something that no one’s ever made before (your business, your art, Your Thing): it’s hard. We do it all, we invent it, we spin it into being, we enchant. We get tired. We succeed, we serve, we earn, we grow. We get scared. We doubt.
That voice of doubt can be so loud, can put us in a corner, can make it so daunting to take another step.
And all of this happening in a political climate in this country like none other I’ve ever experienced in my long life, at a time when we’re buffeted by the news cycle, waking up every day (maybe that’s just me) like What the hell has happened now? Each low followed by another new low, all of us aching with our missing for what we had before, going high when they go low but when the low is so damn low, even that high is brought down. Getting altitude is pushing against so much gravity, and damn but gravity is heavy.
It’s no wonder we’re tired.
I look at the flowers in my hands. I see their beauty in this precise moment, and I see the time their beauty took, I see the work I did in the past to put them in my hands right now, I see the seed they were, the sprout, the plant, the bloom, and then the seed, again and again.
I see how making something beautiful, something that serves, is a simple thing repeated and repeated. Devotion. Delight.
My darlings, if you’re feeling discouraged, if you feel like you’ve put so much into Your Thing and you’re not sure why, and you’re scared and your doubt is talking loud, stay with it a little longer. The bloom is not instant, no matter what that sponsored ad says. And the bloom is a little unpredictable sometimes, not coming in the season that you planned. Put your hands back in, cultivate more, keep feeding the ground you walk on. Do your work.
Trust in the power that’s in that seed you’re planting, love. Stay with that. Return to that. Tired happens. Doubt happens. And so does Beauty. Stay with Your Thing.
Feed. Water. Devotion. Delight.