One downside of being an adult, I have forgotten all about enjoying summer. The summer is that narrow window in Oregon where the sun shines, and outdoor activities are possible without the threat of rain. Swimming, camping, reading, gardening, all these activities are pastimes that fill lives with pieces of enjoyment.
My summer has had peaks of interest, no doubt about it: weddings, parades, and lots of family birthday dinners. Yet somehow, all these events have become more of a drain, something more to do and more to shove into the week. I have been so busy that there has been little to no time to keep up with the day-to-day (just ask my laundry pile). This go-go-go schedule has left me feeling the need for time to slow down.
Taking time to slow down, of course, is easier said than done. The other day, I was reminded just how important it is to take time; it was a day when I was in a rush.
One of our many joys at The Garden Corner is completing local deliveries. Online orders come in and we are able to deliver these plants straight to our fellow rebel’s doorstep. We have one loyal gardener, Jerri, who orders many times throughout the year. Jerri is a great planner. She purchases what she knows she can plant that week and works from one corner of her garden to the other every season. Jerri is always ordering different varieties, testing and learning what works well in her yard.
The whole family, at one point or another, has delivered a box to Jerri. College break, make a run to Jerri’s. After work, add in a quick stop by Jerri’s. On the way to your camping trip, leave room for Jerri’s plants. None of us need directions to her house, and the drive has become as familiar as our own grandma’s house.
Typically, we are in a rush and leave the box by her door. We deliver her plants ding-dong ditch style, much like many delivery services. Drop the package and send the delivered email. This style of delivery, however, left Jerri’s garden quite an enigma to all of us.
She has a lovely front yard, pathways, and patches of flowers beneath a massive tree that shades the whole area. She often orders many sun varieties, which made us question where she fits all of these plants! We always wondered, yet never took the time to stop and ask.
This month, one of our newer crew members, David, finally got to deliver to Jerri. We sent him out first thing in the morning, right after our coffee chat. The plants were packed safely, and the address was loaded into his system. Frequently, traffic can be tricky, but the average time to Jerri’s and back has been tried and tested, and we knew when he would be back.
Time passed, and some more time, then just a little more time. We started to wonder if David had gotten lost along the way. After a few more agonizing minutes, we began to joke about sending out a search party. I remember sweating with guilt, assuming he got stuck in terrible traffic.
Don’t worry. David did, in fact, return. He returned from a fabulous adventure with little to no stressful traffic. You see, Jerri was working in her yard when David arrived. David, the “new” guy, got a grand tour of Jerri’s entire garden! The elusive views of mysterious corners simply because he slowed down.
We gossiped for the rest of the afternoon like a flock of birds. Unintentionally taking the time to slow down and enjoy Jerri’s garden, even if it was second-hand. We were listening to stories about the view that none of us had seen before like children at bedtime. It caused us to wonder why we simply had not asked to take a peek. Then, we began questioning why it is not more common to share your garden. I know none of my neighbors have shared theirs, nor have I offered to show them around my work in progress.
We spend so much time building these beautiful places of oasis. Peaceful, chaotic, needy, and always a project, but our spaces are reflections of ourselves. As the summer comes to a close, we should be spending more time in our spaces. Not just for alone, quiet time, but opening it up for others to enjoy as well. Have a game outside, or enjoy an ice cream with a friend while catching up (outside). Share stories and memories, perhaps with someone new.
I suppose that I learned when Jerri shared her garden, she shared a little bit of herself with us. It is something that inspired me to share a little more of my garden with you.