This weekend was beautiful in the Mid-Atlantic. Hopefully it was just as nice in your neck of the woods.
Yesterday, I had a small window of opportunity to work outside in our gardens. I don't know why it is, but getting some dirt under my fingernails feels good to my soul. It appears our neighbors must feel the same way because they were out in full force, digging, planting, mowing and mulching.
We have some newly-moved-in neighbors to the south of us and had our first seasonal chat over the back fence about gardening plans and projects. As new owners of a home that has been neglected for over ten years it was interesting to hear their plans. Already in just an afternoon they had put in some serpentine shaped herbaceous beds lined with stones along the corners of the square back yard. I commented how much better the yard looked. "Oh thanks but we have a long way to go."
Later as I was working on my yard I thought about our little chat. When I glanced over I could see how much improved their yard was becoming over the way it was. Before there were weed infested spots with patches of hard dirt, overhanging dead limbs from balding evergreen trees and a space under the deck filled with rotting wood, half- decomposed dry leaves and rusted old gardening tools. Now they have a clean blank "canvas" under the deck, a lovely sitting area surrounding a fire pit and trimmed trees.
I know that when I am in the middle of a gardening project all I can see is the task at hand; elimination of weeds, division of out of control hostas, tidying up stone gardening paths, etc. It also seems to be the time when I notice other projects that I cannot get to; scraping and painting the exterior of our screened porch, sorting and eliminating gathered gardening material and never to completed projects e.g. reusing the wood from an arbor for part of a potting bench.
Yet if I am truly honest it is not a bad as I think. As much as I think that I have so much to do and things are not "finished", I have had neighbors and passers-by comment about our inviting back yard. For them they see the overall effect of shrubs, plants and sitting spaces. They don't see the weeds popping up between the patio stones.
I think that sometimes we need the perspective of looking at a situation from another's point of view. For instance we might feel that we are not handling a difficult situation well, yet someone else seeing what we are going through might notice our quiet strength. By looking at a situation through the lens of another, we might be able to be encouraged by his/her handling of a similar situation. In this world of "sandwich generation" I have seen how some of my friends have handled moving an elderly parent and I am able to glean encouragement and practical help from their experience.
Other times we are too close to a situation to have perspective. We need to give distance to the problem. I noticed that too yesterday as I was upstairs getting ready to come out to work on the yard. While there, I glanced down on the back yard from one of the upstairs windows. The gardens looked quite different from that view. As I looked down I thought, "I need to move the garden statue over a couple of feet behind the pond. If I move the crepe myrtle bush I can open up some space over there..." That birds-eye view helped me correct some issues that were bugging me but I couldn't quite figure out before.
What about you? Are you going through a situation that needs perspective? Can you step back and give yourself some distance to the problem? Can you talk to others (friend, family or neighbor) and find out what they think? Can you gain some gardening perspective?