The Behemoth

pine tree morning

Have you ever had a behemoth in your life?  Did the elephant in the room ever come sit on you? Has there ever been a big thing that plopped down on you and grabbed you and now is sucking the light out of your life or in this case your yard…

I moved into this house 13 years ago. Back then it was quite a different place, besides of being denied of my whimsical vibes and general weirdness, the house and surrounding yard lacked the appropriate plant and animal life.  The backyard lies on a double lot. In the far west back are big bushes of the still unknown variety.  A very tall pine tree stood in the center like a behemoth.  This tree was too big for the yard and it’s influence was greatly felt.  The tree rendered 90 % of the yard dark and pine needly, what little grass that grew was patchy and only grew to shaggy and straggly near the outer parameters of the yard—the only place the sun was able to shine. This was where the tallest of the strongest weeds grew. They stood like sentinels seeming to be guarding the yard from interlopers.  This yard had been neglected for some time. There was nothing; no odd wildflower sprouting up, no old forgotten rosebush in the corner overgrown with weeds. Nothing to show that someone who loved flowers was once there. I have a fondness for old neglected gardens, finding the traces and leftovers of a plants that at one time were planted there by someone and cared for and enjoyed them. To me it sort of feels like walking back through time. And I try how to image how the place once looked. To me gardens have always felt like the person who once loved them.

It has always been a fantasy of mine to move into a place with a yard like that. Where I would have the joy of discovery of  finding and resurrecting once overlooked wonderfulness. an opportunity to nurse it back to former glory with equal parts love, devotion and hard work.

Well this yard had none of that; no hidden charm or gem. Just pine needles, grass and a few weeds and an overgrown hedge.

There was nothing to save and resurrect because there was nothing there.  The tree took in all the life-giving light for itself and didn’t share. Nothing was left.

I tried to make the best of it. I have always been a gardener at heart. I have this need to be surrounded by plants. I probably got this trait from my mother who lived and breathed plants too.  My childhood was filled with memories of the outdoors; of soft green grass, and miniature roses, big green trees with arching limbs, blue skies with big puffy clouds, a chorus of birds chirping and singing away happily. To me nature has also been magical and gardens a way for us mere mortals to create a bit of our own magic.

I much as I love trees I knew that if that if that behemoth didn’t leave we would never have a decent backyard, besides it was dropping needles like crazy, probably not a good sign. We knew what had to be done. We got three bids and went with the lowest one and the behemoth was gone 3 days later.

backyard stump
We decided to save the stump. We had it shaved off at about three feet. It reminds me of the one the Lorax stood on in the Dr. Seuss classic. There it remains today.

Once the behemoth was gone, the yard was instantly transformed.  It was if summer had finally come after a long cold lonely winter. My mind starting whirling with ideas on what to do next. I picked a corner, started digging and never looked back.

I wanted this place to become an extension of me– “my little kingdom” and I spent hours and hours working…sometimes 6 or 8 hours a stretch with no break out there digging in the mud, planting, raking, pruning, mowing. digging, lots of digging…

I really enjoyed the work which surprised me. I was never good at sports or anything physical but I enjoyed this gardener’s workout.  (it’s not as easy as it may look)

Over the years, a little this and some more that. I couldn’t afford a bunch of plants at once, so I would add little bits here and there; more and more each year. I saved many seeds and learned to propagate, adding more and more plants. As time went on the yard looked better and better. I started to feel good about this and started to feel good about myself.

I didn’t much feel good about myself back then so this was a really good thing. I lacked self-confidence and wasn’t too sure of myself. I was shy ( I still am) this simple act of working hard, achieving a wonderful result that others and yourself can enjoy is absolutely wonderful. It makes a person such as myself feel all warm and toasty inside. This gave me a dose of confidence and more importantly made me realize the other behemoth in my life. The one’s who mighty shadow I was standing in and to an extent still do

This huge dominating force is not a tree, but it has taken root in me–planted there a long time ago. This behemoth is called fear. Unlike a tree I can’t just hire someone to come cut it down. But living in its shadow has rendered me a late bloomer I am afraid to say.  I am also afraid to say it still stands but it is no longer a behemoth; just a big weed now. I will probably always struggle with fear to some extent. I highly doubt that I am the only one…but, I have cut it down to size and now my own personal garden in thriving in the light and is home to thousands of bright happy things.

Strawberryindigo.

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Did you ever have a behemoth in your life? What was it and how did you overcome it? 

lemon rose cu

“People where you live,” the little prince said,grow five thousand roses in one garden… yet they don’t find what they’re looking for…

“They don’t find it,I answered.

And yet what they’re looking for could be found in a single rose, or a little water…”

“Of course, I answered.

And the little prince added, “But eyes are blind. You have to look with the heart.”
― Antoine de Saint-ExupéryThe Little Prince

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The Colors of Life

 

The spectrum of humanity lives in my garden.  All the hues are represented.  I spent much of the day today here in the garden, working and enjoying the beautiful day. 

Here in my garden among nature’s living color.  The riotous reds and sunny saffron.  The bright fuchsias, vivid indigo and royal plums, Tangerine oranges and leaves of deep velvet green with tickles of snow-white petals kiss the Kelly grass. 

The butterflies flutter and frolic, while the songbirds twitter and tweet. The place hums with life.  Chickadees and blue birds, Robins and Crows, the little Wrens and the glorious hummingbirds all play and sing. 

 Raccoons and opossums, the neighbor cats and probably a few mice. A million kinds of insects and even a few humans also pay frequent visits to the garden.  It is an oasis of pure green in the city.

Everything is all organic.  I let nature do  a lot of the work so I can have more time to appreciate It’s wonder.

When I work the soil, I feel a certain connectedness to the Earth.  I feel so included, so a part of something much bigger than I .  A  cool cloud of  calm descends over me and my mind can finally relax.  I take in the whole experience of the garden, It is a delight to all the senses.

I plant a seed and watch that seed sprout out of the ground and grow into something beautiful  and useful, it’s like a miracle to me, every time. I can’t get over it, the more I learn, the more I need to learn.  

I have learned much over the years and have accomplished much as well.   Many times I had to learn the hard way until I finally learned that I don’t know everything and that it’s O.K. to ask for help.  I’ve learned that nothing and no one is perfect and that is a good thing.   We are all different: but just as beautiful, just as vitally important.  All of us contribute to the beautiful essence of the garden of humanity in our own unique ways.

We need a spectrum of colors in our garden of humanity.  And love and understanding for one another.  The health of the garden depends on all of us…From the bipedal big-headed hairy ape, to the smallest microbe.  We need to work together for the good of all.

As I work in my garden I think of these things;  I start to believe that nothing is impossible, if you believe.  Every plant starts with one tiny seed, and ideas are like that.  Some land in the wrong place, some never germinate or get water, some just wither and die, and some are even stepped on.  Some ideas, with love and care and attention can grow and become tall powerful towering trees, like the great redwoods.

I believe that, if we all believe and work hard.  Humankind can achieve wonderous beautiful things. Together, we can do much. Apart, we achieve nothing.  And maybe someday we can all live in peace and harmony.  Just like in my garden.

And while we are on the subject…Check out My Garden page  for a tribute to The Sunflower and more…Wishing you Peace and Happiness,

 Strawberryindigo.