Sunday, February 7, 2016

No One But You

I sometimes wonder if I were a character in one of my stories, who I'd be. Bits of fiction, funny dialogue, and quirky characters ramble though files that fill my hard drive. I do not write to become an author but to let loose the tangle of words that flow through my brain, exploding like dried corn in a hot skillet. I write because I am a writer.

But to write about a garden is different. There are no clever characters and the setting is always the same. There is no one but me, my strengths and weaknesses exposed with every post. My garden, like my life, is my story and I am not a character but the author. I reveal with words and flowers the labyrinth of a deep heart and busy mind. 



There are no chances to go back and erase the parts of my story I don't like and replace them with perfect scenes and tidy endings. But between everything I cannot control, come the choices I can. I don't wait for what isn't coming or pretend to be anyone other than my own authentic self. I choose to live my life with passion and exuberance and to own every choice I make.  Each trip into the garden reminds me of the difference between a valid reason and a bullshit excuse so I whisper gently or yell ferociously to be your own hero, love. I pick up the shovel, dig a hole, and try again.

43 comments:

  1. Hi Tammy. Yeah the garden does put things into perspective, doesn't it? What's cool is that we, as gardeners, are our plants' hero. And those sweet plants are very forgiving of our foibles.

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    1. They are forgiving until they give us the middle finger and die to piss us off. I've had to ax a few divas with too plantitude. ;o)

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  2. Eloquently communicated, Tammy. Interesting that you mention you can't go back, because you kinda can ... a little bit, anyway. Your garden is malleable and forgiving and changing ... and beautiful, like you. :)

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    1. This piece is less about my garden than about life, which doesn't offer a way to go back for a redesign. We can only move foreward. But thanks for the love! :o)

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  3. We can play a host of different roles in our gardens, can't we? We're stewards, editors, and protectors. Sometimes I feel like a minion to my garden's needs and other times like a savior. I respond to the garden but it also responds to me - it's a symbiotic relationship.

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  4. Lovely! I will think about this post next time I put off a garden task I dislike in favour of one I do. I always feel a bit unprincipled when I get sidetracked into something more fun.... a kind of female rogue. Flawed and constantly blaming a lack of time. This is not heroic behaviour. My garden thanks you for this post.

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    1. I always feel a bit victorious when I get out there and just do whatever needs to be done. There's nothing heroic about it. I just don't like to let tasks pile up. Actually, I think it's self-preservation. If I get it done now, theoretically I'll have more time later to do whatever else it is I want to do.

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  5. I think Tammy, your garden is thankful to you and all your plants wait for you come in and touch them and you're really their hero.

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  6. Sometimes it is almost frightening to be the person solely responsible for the failures or triumphs in the garden. It always helps to think that I can always try again for a better harvest or garden design next year. Plants can be moved or regrown and lessons learned, but at least me and the wildlife are enjoying the garden no matter what!

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    1. Even when I think my garden is a disaster, the pollinators think it's paradise! I have to remind myself of that sometimes. :o)

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  7. We can control so much in the garden and, at the same time, so little. Think how boring it would be if it were easy and everything performed according to plan (insert yawn here). I just have to remind myself of that when my seedlings keel over or when aphids descend on my plants :)

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  8. This is deep Tammy and food for thought on a grey rainy day.

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    1. Sometimes my posts can be taken very literally and are exactly what they appear to be - a post about plants. But sometimes they are really about something else entirely and are only using the garden as a component of a larger idea. This is one such piece. :o)

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  9. This "Authentic Self" business has been cropping up a lot on my radar this year. I wonder if this means I will finally get to meet mine? Hope we get along, if so.

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    1. I hope you do, too! :o) What a great comment. :o)

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  10. Owning who we are, for good or ill, is a very honest thing to do. Once we have honesty we have the right to trust ourselves completely. I know I'll make more mistakes, in life and the garden. I also know I have the skills to learn and move on which I find comforting.

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    1. If you can't be honest with yourself, you're not going to be honest with anyone else, either.

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  11. Thank God we cannot go back for a redesign. Better not to have made a conscious choice.

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    1. "There's only one path to now" is one of my favorite sayings but sometimes I wish it were less bumpy. :o)

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  12. Like any piece of art, the garden (and writing...)is a reflection of whomever we are--at a particular moment, season, or period of time. Hopefully, that is always changing and evolving, at least a little.

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  13. Working in or just admiring a garden is the best therapy available. Those that don't garden can't even imagine what they are missing. :-)

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    1. Gardening is a combination of the physical with the cerebral that results in a fluid piece of art that both calms and excites. It is pure heaven to me. :o)

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  14. Wise words. Habitat Gardening makes me accountable to all the wildlife that visit our garden. If I don't get out there the wildlife reminds me that I'm not keeping up with my tasks. I think gardens are a reflection of how we live our life. Everyone is different and they all have their challenges.

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  15. I need more coffee before I can think seriously about this. But let me say too things. First, I can see you in a cape with a big T on your chest, and second, I can't imagine anyone at the wheel of your life except you and I'm just happy to have a seat in the front row every once in a while. (Is that 3 things?)

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    1. Even though I'm posting this in 2016, it's a reflection of ongoing internal dialogue over the past 20 years or so. But it took until recently to get it all down in a paragraph. :o) My garden and my tendency to be a bit tough on myself hold me accountable. As for the cape, I'd probably end up all tangled up. As for the front row, I wish we lived closer so you actually could get in next to me. :o)

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  16. I love Marian's comment. Our gardens do tell a lot about us. Mine, full of weeds, certain shows me to be the untidy housekeeper that I really am. Certainly not a super hero. A romantic dreamer planting the hard to grow. Whining when it fails, like hydrangeas.

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    1. I'm no super hero, that's for sure! I like how artsy the picture is but I never thought about the person wearing a cape. I thought they were sleeves. :o) But we create our gardens as we create our lives. But I believe that we are all responsible for our own choices. Instead of waiting for a white knight, we just rescue ourselves.

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  17. A thoughtful post. I like gardening because it is easier to go back and absolutely demolish a planting you don't like than it is to undo some decision in life you may have come to regret.

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  18. Last night I listened to my son make a speech about confidence and deciding to take charge of who you are. It was an honest speech in which he cast himself somewhat unwittingly in the role of a reformed villain-of-sorts. His speech was part of a speech contest, and we the audience, were introduced to several other characters via their speeches. There was the geeky-love-sick guy, the try-try-it-again guy and the dad-of-year guy. The Dad-of-year guy won the speech contest.
    The evening has got me thinking about characters- ones we love and ones we hate. Villains can really drive a story, but that is partly because we want to see them get what's coming to them. The more evil the villain, the more we want to see them burn in hell.
    Anyway, I have been thinking about discussing the evening with Daniel and wondering how to approach the issue of character. Daniel certainly made his own life harder when he went up against the Dad-of-the-year with his reformed-villain speech. On the other hand, I think you have to be authentic first and foremost whether it is in the garden or making a speech.

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    1. Just being your true self includes knowing who that person is. I'd rather deal with someone who is authentically themselves than pretending to be someone else. I'm a big believer in saying, "This is my life and this is how I choose to live it" and being able to honestly justify your choices. It gives people a sense of reality that others can relate to.

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  19. Well, we can' t go back in time and redesign our lives, but we can and do constantly redesign our gardens. As you say we are the authors.
    Gardening and then writing about gardening, is very revealing. That is what makes blogging so fascinating. I love getting to know, not just the gardens, but the people who create them.

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    1. I change/redesign my garden often to solve whatever problems have popped up. I prefer blogs that delve a bit into the life and personality of the blogger, too. They're more interesting. :o)

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  20. Hello Tammy, this is very inspirational and I love your open honesty. My own story is initially very dark and disturbing, but it does have a happy ending; I've been wondering whether to write about it some time but it doesn't make for comforting bedtime reading, but it is me.

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    1. Thanks, Sunil. I don't see the point in not being honest. People are more real and relatable when they show their humanity and imperfections. Not all stories are the happy ones but that's ok. I find writing about my life and how it relates to gardening quite cathartic.

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  21. I think maybe that is why I have 2 blogs...one for my garden....it is truth as nature brings. And then the writer in me is given voice on my other blog....but on both I am my authentic self. I don't know how to be anything else.

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  22. Gee, I'd heard that there were blogs where people exposed themselves. Little did I know that yours was one of them. One learns something new every day.

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