I’ve lived in condos and apartments all my life, so I’ve never had my own garden. But the properties I lived at required upkeep, and on Fridays, the strident music of machines and the pungent smell of freshly cut grass would invade my open windows.
I have great respect for those who can care for the earth in such a way that it responds. I was thinking about this the other day when I was walking down the happening street in my neighborhood. Two women were pulling weeds out of the sweet urban garden in front of a Yoga studio, expertly yanking this and that to cultivate life.
There were two stories I was obsessed with growing up, and they both involved gardens.
As a little girl, I used to save my allowance and lunch money (yes, by going hungry) so I could go to the mall. I usually made a beeline for the bookstore, and one day, a gorgeous hardcover of The Secret Garden was perched on top of a shelf.
I happily spent all of my money on it. And I read it over and over again, never tiring of the magical story.
Then, there was the movie Edward Scissorhands. My grandmother was actually an Avon lady, so it was entertaining to see the way they weaved that comedic occupation into the storyline.
However, I couldn’t understand why more people didn’t create art the way Edward Scissorhands did with the shrubs and trees. I still don’t. Imagine how incredible it would be to walk down a street with green unicorns, dinosaurs, giraffes, swans, and children inhabiting every yard.
I guess it all comes down to losing our sense of awe as we get older. Whimsical things are pushed aside, and the acceptable “adult” things take precedence. Because the guy with the shrub safari in his front yard would be pretty ballsy, am I right?
I’m not over-the-hill in my thirties, I understand this. What’s tricky about your thirties is that you’re an adult now. When you’re in your twenties, you don’t know what the hell’s going on, but you play along and pretend you’re figuring things out even when you’re lost as shit.
In your thirties, hopefully you somewhat have your shit together—in a place that makes you sing, on a career path that challenges you, surrounded by genuine people you want to continue investing your time in.
But, what about the awe? Do you still have it? Or, did you lose it along the way?
Often I feel like I’m struggling to hold onto it, to continue marveling at life when the days keep flying by, faster and faster. I try to slow it down, I try to stop and notice. Somehow it’s alarmingly easy to go with it—and suddenly you realize a year has passed. A year.
So, one Friday this summer me and Mr. H took a sanity day to hang out around the house and just be. I was determined to do a 90-minute Yoga class, something I rarely have time for as I’m squeezing in 30-60 minute classes throughout my hectic week.
I had just started my practice, and I was centering myself. Then, wouldn’t you know it?
The gardening equipment struck up in our courtyard, a symphony of shrill that—despite my serene start—pissed me right off.
It was Friday. I’m never home on Fridays. And just like every other apartment I’ve lived in, Fridays are gardening day.
I live in the city, so getting bent out of shape over any noise when meditating or practicing Yoga is silly, I know. It’s a control thing. I have this time that I want things to be a certain way, quiet and peaceful, because I’m trying to de-stress, dammit!
But that Friday, it was gardening day.
I had two choices. I could give up my Yoga practice, try again when the coveted quiet, peaceful setting was more attainable. Or, I could get over it, and continue with the racket outside my window.
I decided on choice #2. I thought it was perfect actually, because it complemented the past month of craziness I had experienced in my life, especially at work—the struggle to remain calm in the chaos.
So, I worked with it. Every time my irritation rose, I breathed deeper. Every time I wanted to give up, I kept moving.
Because at the end of the day, there is very little we can control. Rather than getting upset, we can find the correlation between the emotional instigator and a tough situation in our lives.
I’m not saying it’s easy, because it’s not. Once you begin to recognize this, believe it or not, life gets easier.
Anyway about halfway through my practice, I was in one of the Yoga poses I truly struggle with…Utthan Pristhasana (Lizard Pose).
I know what you’re thinking.
I’m a Yogi, I’m not supposed to hate. Well I kinda hate this mofo pose, because it’s one of the most evil hip openers out there. The heat rises within me and I want to run away from my mat, never to return.
Lizard Pose took a strange turn this time. When I looked up, cursing under my breath with a cat on my back, there was the gardener—standing in front of my window with his leaf blower.
Do you know what the guy did? He smiled at me and waved.
I did the same, somewhat awkwardly as you can imagine.
Then, he went on his way.
I laughed. I laughed at myself, at my ridiculous attitude. The carefree gardener was like, “Hey, this is kinda weird but kinda awesome.”
And, he was right.