On a deeper level, this gardening experiment reinforced things I was beginning to recognize more readily in myself: I am determined, creative, and resilient. I did, in fact, inherit my grandparents' green thumbs. That bit of revelation thrills me to no end. It's a bit like learning that I'm not a complete dunce in the kitchen, which was an old, worn-out narrative I believed about myself for too many years.
I have a three-ring notebook full of reference articles. When something random catches my eye that I think I might want to return to later, I slide it into a page protector and include it in the binder. Recently, I had a few new entries to include. The binder was nearing capacity, so I flipped through it page-by-page looking for articles or idea inspirations that were past their prime. Things that I could remove to make room for other, newer items.
I was delighted and surprised to discover how many times something garden related had been added to this reference binder over the years. It seems I've been nurturing a desire to garden, to get my hands in the dirt and grow something, for a long, long time. Much the same way I nurtured my love of writing, long before I decided to claim that as a passion and something I would pursue with tenacity. Flipping through those pages was a form of archaeology. It was an enlightening, empowering discovery, and one that will serve and nourish me for years to come.
When I began this journey, I was weary of the physical scenery of my neglected, overgrown backyard. I was also tired of the stress and belief that to fix the mess, I would have to spend thousands of dollars I simply do not, nor would I have, for the foreseeable future. What a liberating thing to decide I would make it better on my own, bit-by-bit, and as budget allowed.
I was rewarded time and again by my willingness to ask for help and admit I was a novice. That quality has brought to my life the most serendipitous and helpful conversations and interactions. It also gave me the space to think out loud, to dream, and to plan.
In the process, I also had the chance to dwell in the memories of my grandparents, to ask myself the questions I would have liked to ask my grandmother, in particular, and by doing so now, wait quietly for spirit and my own intuition to help guide me to her answers.
Like my 40/40 list three years ago, this gardening experiment has been another practice ground for sharpening life and coping skills. It has served as a mirror to reflect back to me what I am seeing, feeling, and experiencing in life during this season. It's given me space to ask questions, listen for the answers. It's also been a safe place for me to grieve some losses that still felt fresh when the season began.
I feel stronger, more sure-footed, more hopeful about the future. I believe in the power of the changing of seasons—both physical and emotional.
I am the proud owner of a few new tools and a whole lot more confidence. I challenged some preconceived notions, and came out stronger than before.
I learned that I am much like the zinnias I grew: hearty and capable of withstanding harsh conditions. I am colorful, bright, and strong. I learned I AM a gardener, and far less of a novice than when I started brokenhearted and overwhelmed this spring.