I’m not an expert gardener by any means, but with each passing year, I get more and more joy out of getting my hands dirty and seeing what comes of it.
There’s a healthy humility that comes from gardening, an acceptance of our place in the bigger picture.
Gardening has and will continue to teach me important lessons in life. These are the top three:
1) It’s good to have a plan.
Being faced with an expanse of earth or an expanse of life and no idea what to do is overwhelming and scary. Just letting things happen gives you a garden full of weeds and a life full of other people’s expectations. Far better to scribble something on the back of a napkin and make your world your own.
2) It’s good to know when to change your plan.
I once planted a beautiful nicotiana in my front garden, so it could offer up its scent to guests returning late at night. By the next morning some very happy insect had eaten the entire thing. A very wise gardener told me that if something doesn’t work in the spot you’ve picked, to either try it in a new spot or put something different in that spot or both. That kind of flexibility comes in handy in life, too. Though often, “It’s not working” isn’t as clear and the sad, bare skeleton of a nicotiana, if you experience that sort of thing often enough in the garden, you’ll learn to recognize the feeling in your life.
3) Despite all your plans and changes of plan, things will happen that you can neither predict nor control.
In a garden, these are called “flowers”. In life, they’re called ‘miracles’. Inhale deeply and enjoy.