Spring just declared herself in Portland and I am not sure which way to turn. I’m doing my best to keep up with the things I should do – get the sweet peas in their beds and trellised, arrange compost delivery and create beds, pot up seedlings, succession plant new seeds for summer and autumn, pre-sprout dahlias – that sort of stuff. Which leaves me plenty of time with my thoughts.
I live in the gossamer space between melancholy and fervor. I think I always have. People close to me have often tried to provide access to the thing that would widen that space, and while it’s not always comfortable, and sometimes the pendulum swings out of balance, it inevitably evens out in the long run. And I have grown accustomed to the movement. One end of it comes with endless confidence and capacity, and the other end comes with crippling self doubt and ear piercingly loud self criticism. These days the latter seems to be driving the train.
As part of this flower growing experiment I spend a lot of time learning from other farmers, which has proved invaluable so far. I am able to measure my own progress based on those in similar climates, those with similar constraints, and those who have seemingly achieved what I would like to grow to be in several years. I also learned another lesson today, or rather I am learning a lesson that was highlighted today.
You are trying too hard.
It’s very possibly that you’re already good enough, and what’s more, it doesn’t matter one little bit if you are or aren’t.
For my own self, this flower project started because I am wrecked. Worn out. Tired to my very bones of the industry I fully embraced and to which I wanted to prove so badly that I belonged and deserved to be there. I know it sounds silly to start something that is so demanding when a person is worn down, but I can’t tell you how literally grounding it is to work with soil and plants and seeds and sunshine every day.
Imagine what we could achieve if we were so comfortable with our view of the world that we just made beautiful things from it. Imagine what we could do if we believed that everything we made had value just because it was made and in the world. Imagine the time we could get back if we stopped worrying so much about invisible lines and benchmarks and opinions.
May, she will stay. And hopefully so will her lessons. I’ll try again tomorrow.