Spring is truly bustin' out all over! And I've had one of those weeks where I've had, to speak diplomatically, "too many opportunities for growth." Sometimes we call these kinds of things "challenges." Other times we call them the manure that makes us grow. Too much manure this week.
This is the final day of what was supposed to be another one of my planned, three-day mini-vacations. I had so much fun on my time off in February, when I started this blog. I planned three days of art, art, art of all kinds. I sketched, painted, photographed, read art-making books, and wrote, in addition to blogging. At the end of three days I felt as though I'd been away for a week. This month I thought I might travel, and spend some time in Chattanooga, or perhaps Asheville, or the Biltmore Estate. That sounded like fun in January, when I planned these two weekends. But I had so much fun in February with my "art marathon," that I decided to repeat that format, with a hefty dose of gardening thrown in, since all three days have been sunny and in the 70s F. I approached the weekend with great anticipation. But this time was different.
The trouble started on Tuesday, actually, when I went to the doctor to have a cyst on my back checked. It's infected and needs to be removed (thus a course of antibiotics), plus my blood pressure was high (never before a problem for me). She insisted that I schedule my mammogram before I left her office, and I had to have blood drawn so she can check my kidney function (I have a family history of kidney cancer). Suddenly I feel like I've fallen into the maw of the medical machine, and my usually-latent hypochondria has been kicked up.
Then Wednesday I became embroiled in a major "tiff" on my favorite email list. It's a closed list, and over the years has taken on the feel of a fairly close family. The problem started when I suggested we add a new member. Others didn't agree. It's my own fault; I can be rash, and sometimes it's hard for me to keep my mouth shut (or my fingers off the keyboard) until I cool down. I'm not vicious, but can be, as someone accurately characterized it, "abrasive and insensitive." Now folks are angry with me (appropriately so, I admit), and I'm still chewing on how and whether I can best try to gain some reconciliation with my list-sisters and brothers, and whether the wounds can be healed at all. I didn't sleep Wednesday night till 4:30, which is very unusual for me. It breaks my heart that I hurt people, apparently on multiple occasions of which I wasn't even aware.
On Thursday, the first day of my "vacation," I lost hours sleeping in. Then I had my morning run, got my blood drawn at the lab, and spent quite a bit of time talking by phone to the IRS; that's always pleasant, isn't it? Then I talked to two people from the list about the situation I've caused, which continued to both surprise and sadden me. You might correctly surmise that I didn't get a lot of art-making or gardening done on Thursday.
Friday I saw my spiritual director. Since I have to drive an hour each way, the trip takes about half a day, all told. It was a tear-drenched visit with her. But it nourishes my spirit, and it gives me some perspective on myself and my "growth opportunities."
Today has been a good day, and it's not nearly over. I wrote my journal over breakfast on the porch, pausing to talk to some of the birds that hang out in my back yard. I gardened, tackling just a bit of the front porch border bed, but then spending hours in my beloved veggie garden. I love the beauty of the perennial beds when they're well-manicured; but I'm passionate about my vegetables. The peas, lettuce, radishes, and spinach are up, I have three clumps of rhubarb coming along nicely, the brussels sprouts are flourishing, and by tomorrow my first stalk of asparagus will be ready to harvest. It's a nice plump one, and that's a good thing, because it's the only one I'll be eating this weekend!
I've taken photographs of my gardening efforts, as well as some of the many things that are blooming all over my yard. I have a good video record of the delights of all my gardens this year. And now I'm finally getting to this blog, which has been calling my name for days and days.
I love seeing where my veggie garden started this year (you can see an example in my February 26 entry), and where it is now:
I love the neatly delineated beds (one left to do; I have to get 12 more feet of planking to finish it), the wide, clear paths (all are 3 feet wide). I need to clear the weeds from the paths and get some sort of mulch down to suppress more weed growth, but it already looks tidy to me. I love the earth I've shoveled into and tilled up in the beds, and even, yes, the manure I've incorporated. The blue bin in the first photo holds manure that heats up and decomposes into rich brown fertilizer very quickly, and the white pail holds "manure tea" that I use to fertilize, as well. That garden is a lovely, manageable task that I can pour my heart and energy into.
And just to show you that I'm not 100% fixated on the veggie garden, here are some shots of just a bit of the blooming that is going on in other parts of my yard:
The cherry tree; it also blooms in the fall.
Magnolia, surrounded by forsythia
Small forsythia, on the other side of the potting shed.
Near the highway that runs in front of my house
And finally, the pretty little star magnolia. My predecessor here planted all but the veggie garden; I was lucky to "inherit" such beauty when I moved into the rectory. Every morning in the spring and summer is like Christmas; I can hardly wait to get outside to see what's blooming today!
I hope you're all having a lovely spring weekend, and that the creative Spirit is moving within you, whatever your "art" may be!