The photo above is taken from my second story balcony this morning. It’s part of the gardens at my home, about 6-7 feet wide and 20 feet long. That’s sidewalk edge on the right that leads to my front door.It is spring in Utah and on this past weekend, that meant tending to some gardens.
There’s a few details in this photo that won’t matter to most, but they are satisfying to me.
- The open patch on the left is where I first cleared weeds and many perennials propagating into the space, and then planted seeds of beets and carrots. I’m experimenting. Not rows in this area, but rather a mixed spread.
- The rhubarb on the bottom left is a patch trimmed in half yesterday. I made a cobbler that I have to admit was very tasty. The rhubarb is a start from my spouse’s father’s rhubarb. He died this weekend at 92. It was a bit of tribute to him to make this dish.
- I pulled many weeds throughout. Long grasses. A few dandelions. A lot of something that I don’t know what to call. Trying to make more room for the lupines and California poppies.
- Beyond the tree on the left is a small patch of petunias and marigolds that I planted this year. I’m excited to think how full that patch might get with bright pink, white, and yellow.
- On the top is a red rose that I planted a couple of years ago to honor my Grandma Gould. I picked a few this weekend to enjoy inside. I try to keep that area a bit clear. Give it space.
- And a whole pile of wild flowers that have been growing for ten years. Daisies. Black-eyed Susan. Some iris. Columbine. I usually thin them each year. However, they are prolific. And I love the wildness of them.
I take a particular satisfaction in this tending. It isn’t perfect. Of course not. But the fact that it is tended has me really wanting to pay attention to it. Funny, right? I’m proud. I’m satisfied. I like the feeling. I want to just look at with joy.
Tending to spaces to meet with people is also joyful. It can turn an unruly bunch into a really satisfying experience. Give it container for some inherent and needed wildness to be present. Tending to how we will begin. With what question we might use to say hello and further our learning together. Tending to how we will listen together in a thoughtful way. Tending to how we might make decisions together. Tending to the space of pause.
Groups aren’t perfect either. Nor is any hosting of them. But “imperfect” shouldn’t be confused with a “whole lot of good and delight.” It’s interesting to me that just a bit of deliberateness can be contagious and deeply satisfying and lead to more deliberateness and satisfaction.
Here’s to tending. And to the kindness for any of us to welcome the ongoing nature of how we just give our attention to a little patch here and there along the way.