There is a bit of hustle and bustle surrounding me as I write. Sitting perched secretly in an outdoor office, this bubble provides me with a unique view of The Garden Corner. An entirely undisturbed point of view from behind the scenes.
I can see cars pass in and out, and walkers meander along the pathway. The office smells a bit dusty from the fading memory of winter combined with an overwhelming scent of strong coffee set within arms reach. The sounds of my walkie-talkie app volume set just below the trickle of a nearby fountain accompanied by a variety of birds that I cannot identify. I can feel the progression of summer and the sun moving across the space as the day progresses.
All of this deep reflection has left me with the realization that this spring, the house, the wedding, and all of the continuous worldly happenings, have left me just a little exhausted.
With all of these wonderful surroundings, unbelievable space, and I find myself feeling quite unprepared for the good season, a little grumpy even (and it is not because the coffee has not kicked in yet). There is an overwhelming inner turmoil that can only be described as chaotic arising from deep in my conscious. This newfound battle has left me somewhat uninspired in terms of writing.
It feels a little bit against the rules, and I am not a very good rule breaker. I keep asking myself why am I unprepared?
I have yet to answer that question.
It is not like the article is a surprise. I know what to expect and look forward to finding my next story. I have met people and a handful of them have started to recognize me from the articles (I think am beginning to feel the pressure of fame).
All of the amazing stories and detailed surroundings come down to a blinking cursor and a hunger for some breakfast. Then, seemingly out of the blue, I recall one fairly recent breakfast in particular.
Allie, the youngest of our family, was wrapping up her senior year at Tualatin High School. She was sitting at the kitchen bar with my father and me, craving pancakes of all things.
Attempting to encourage her studying and continued efforts in school, my father was eager to please and began to heat a frying pan. Allie had no trouble verbalizing her doubts that my father, of all people, could make a pancake correctly. Her worries were not unfounded, neither of us could remember ever seeing our father make pancakes. It was always something that our mother had done.
It was secretly funny because one of his jobs (before finding his passion for plants and his loving children) was cooking pancakes at a small restaurant in his hometown. As he “improperly”, according to Allie, mixed the batter he spent time recalling how he used to stand for hours simply flipping pancakes to order.
I am grateful to report that the professional gardener, Jonn, makes acceptable pancakes. They stood up just fine in comparison to mom’s pancakes.
This whole interaction reminded me of a phrase that my dad likes to use when creating a new garden idea, “find the magic”. The behind-the-scenes, special effects, added details that nobody knows about. Especially in the gardens around you.
Some of these details are natural, a new bloom-forming from inside the plant only to appear suddenly one morning. Others are created, like a drip irrigation system that ensures that your neighbor's basket gets evenly watered every evening. Many require additional efforts. For example, the best hanging baskets are treated with a hand-selected and highly recommended care kit formulated by a garden center that specializes in hanging gardens. Overall, there is a lot of work that goes into creating something that looks spectacular.
In my experience, it is easy to compare. From my perspective, my father never had any struggles finding inspiration for articles. His writing was flawless and funny, and the stories always aligned perfectly. My garden is a dead pile of sticks compared to my neighbor's flourishing annual baskets. Whenever I find myself comparing, I have to realize that there is always some hidden magic, if I can only recognize the work.
I encourage you to find where you might compare your own gardens in life, and then take a moment to recognize all of the work you have put into your plants. Additionally, I challenge you to find all of the attention that someone else has put into their work. Compliment someone that you find inspiring, and pass along the appreciation. In the end, we are all simply trying to grow our gardens (and make the pancakes) the best we can.