|Southern Ohio Hocking Hills, Autumn|
My husband and I are talking about the future. We are at the age where we must think about the priorities of the end chapters of our life together… where to live, how to preserve our health, what sort of plan to do what is important to us.
And then, as I was looking at gardens that people make in all sorts of place -in mountain sides, in woods, in prairies, by oceans, in cities- all the many places, I started to think about my own preferences and experiences.
The story of my life seems to be summed up in the uncomfortable idea that I do not fit. And I have tried all sorts of ways to deal with that, and adjust to it. Almost all, except to move into something different.
My garden is quite an example of that. It is a prairie garden, sort of plunked onto a windswept plain. It is not the sort of garden I would have chosen if wishful thinking had been in charge, to tell the unvarnished truth.
I would have chosen woodland, with nooks and crannies, all the delicate little wildflowers, and stone walls and pathways.
But one thing I would have missed, had I not gardened here in the flat open spaces, would have been the feeling that broad vistas can give you In freedom and elbow room, the daily serving of sunsets and sunrises with almost unbroken horizons, and the long view of approaching weather systems. The unbroken beauty of blue skies with a myriad form of clouds, or the sight of rain falling at a far distant location. These are not things that woodlands or city venues can offer.
Did I belong here, or did I belong in that grottoed woodland that I am so drawn to in pictures?
Do we have a sense of place, or are we capable of finding a fit anywhere we please? Is this a general human or individual trait, this “fitting in”, and what hinders it?
I don’t know any of the answers, not even after all this time of living -now at the 60 year mark, and of gardening in one place for more than twenty years. Enough time to see the garden go through its inception and beginnings to its zenith of glory and now to its decline and maturation, needing to find its new form and purpose.
Should I move on to a new place, or should I see my old place with new eyes? I cannot decide. Perhaps because the clarity of the question is not yet formed in my mind. It has that vague and uneasy feeling about whether one is in the right place or not, whether one fits, and whether there is a place to “fit” at all.
|My place in summer|
No matter what the choice, as in all choices there is something to give up and something to gain. I think in someways it is all just a matter of relinquishing yet more of my ideas of how much control one has in life, without becoming too fatalistic about it.
In the meantime there is merit in the idea which stood me good stead in the past:
Bloom where you are planted
And the newer idea that is finding root in me at this stage of my life:
Enjoy the moment
I believe that clarity will come as I pursue those two leading thoughts. And now I have a new garden season to busy myself with, and the old garden is going to be coming alive with new shoots and tasks soon. What insights will it hold, what challenges will it give me, and how will I answer? A secret garden to explore.
|This place blanketed in winter snow|