The other day, I spent an hour working in my garden. Pruning, plucking, and even pleading. (Me: “Please don’t eat the plant. It’s not food.” Squirrel: No comment. But it did stop eating and stare at me for a long moment before scampering away.)
While I was marveling at the many plants that are getting closer to blooming, I realized something — gardening and writing have a lot in common.
They both offer the promise of something different — something more, something bigger, something more colorful — than what you started with.
A small green plant with a card sticking out of its moist soil labeling it a kalanchoe. A stack of white printer paper, standing at attention, just waiting for me to type some words on the computer and press print.
I turn to both of these endeavors with hope and optimism. I water my plants, doing my best to make sure I’m watering a Goldilocks-not-too-much, not-too-little amount. I strive to find just the right spot, with just the right amount of sunlight, for each plant. I trust in the process and hope I’ve done all I can so my kalanchoe will bloom its yellow flowers. Likewise, I open up a new Pages document on my computer and begin. I only have twenty-six letters to work with, but, again, I trust in the process. I’ve done this before. Just get something down — a word, a vague idea, a quote. Something to get me writing, and keep me writing.
And then you see it start to happen. The plant looks a little taller, a bit fuller with more leaves. A tiny bud appears. The screen on the computer is no longer full of ramblings. I’ve found the line that I was writing my way to. The line that leads to a paragraph, which leads to multiple paragraphs and multiple pages.
But it’s not done yet. My kalanchoe does bloom its small, happy yellow flowers. And I continue showing my plants love, in the form of my pruning and plucking. So, too, it is with writing. After I have printed several pages of my personal essay, I know I’m not done. My pages need some love, too. I review, revise, and rewrite.
Of course there are others involved. All the people responsible for getting my plants to the garden store. My husband for being my personal I.T. person.
But in the end, I did it.
I pause and savor and appreciate.
Then I do it all again.