The garden and I are coming up on an anniversary--it will be five years in November that we were introduced. Five years the following February when I committed to her (I toyed with letting her lie fallow, with naught but an occasional mowing. Then there was a shift in the universe...). And five years the following summer when she was established.
Ok. So only the first one is an impending anniversary. But starting from scratch five years ago, in retrospect, has been a real lesson in "The Law of the Farm," as per Steven Covey.* I wanted a garden. I was ready to work--and I tore into it with gusto(starting with cardboard sheeting, and then seven yards of commercial compost and garden stuff from all over the property, layered, lasagna-like). But, as with any great (or small) undertaking, I was naïve as to the obstacles to be faced. I didn't know the abundant rain here would wash the woodchips off the walking paths, swirling them into new and irregular patterns. I didn't know pomegranate trees would be so unhappy here that they would commit arboreal suicide. And I certainly didn't know about the Japanese Beetles...
And I didn't know that I was good at planting and weeding, but horrible at harvesting (weird, huh!), that I had never REALLY sweat in my life before moving here, and that the garden would grow life lessons as well as green things.
So why do I bring this up now, when this first anniversary is still a couple of months away? It's because of a moment--a garden moment.
I had a moment in the garden last week when I thought, "Huh. It looks like a garden."
Up to this point, yes, others had told me how lovely it is, what a nice garden space, etc. But to me, it was not yet a garden. To me, with all its weeds and bugs and sometimes sickly plants and plans that never came out right, it was not there yet. Then finally I saw it--with all its weeds and bugs and sickly plants and plans that had not come out as planned and I realized, yes, it's a garden.
As with a garden, so with so many other things, big and small. Life and plans, marriage, family, compost, a year, a day, a moment.
So much time in my life has been spent comparing my expectations with my reality, and thinking it wasn't a life yet. But if I am the garden, I know the Gardener is still and always faithfully working to form and mature me, not according to my designs, but to His. And He does not get discouraged at the weeds or bugs or sickly plants. Or plans that have not come out as planned. He still wants to Kiss the Garden. No matter how frustrating she is...
*author of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People