Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Fine Balance

To spend almost a year working towards a very specific deadline translates into making choices about what gets done, when and in what order. The most pressing jobs go to the top of the to-do lists, the others slide further and further down.

Once my opening night wrapped up, all the energy, drive and determination that I had focused on the language pieces for the past twelve months didn't just dissipate. I had fantasized rewarding myself by drifting along for a while in a glow of dreamy relaxation, but realized very quickly once I could actually do it that it didn't appeal to me at all. I'm definitely happiest being a do-er -- get a lot of satisfaction from setting goals and accomplishing them. That led me to ask myself -- what DO you want to do right now? The answer made me laugh. What my heart desired most was -- to clean my refrigerator.

What could be more beautiful and satisfying than a clean, orderly refrigerator filled with healthy, fresh foods?? Couldn't be more opposite than making art, yet I felt a wonderful -- actually soothing and calming -- balance. The simplicity of the work and savoring the completion of it flicked on a light switch -- I wanted to feather my nest! Since I chose this option over other possibilities --- attending a play, hiking a local trail or browsing a bookstore for some interesting new reading -- I realized that what I desire most right now is pleasant, calming order in my home.

Rather than try to do everything all at once, I decided to make a Master List. That got every possible idea out of my head and down on paper. Writing the ideas all down and then narrowing those to specific choices helped me be realistic about what I could get done and thereby be able to feel great about accomplishing. List-making and goal-prioritizing are favorite tools of mine -- that way I can break down large tasks into small steps and get to feel good about completing each one rather than making it an all-or-nothing scenario.

So here was the weekend's short list:

1. Wash windows.
2. Weed the perennial garden.
3. Trim bushes outside my office windows.
4. Thin some perennials and transplant.
5. Buy annuals and start planting.
6. Start a little herb garden.

We've had gorgeous weather this entire spring, most of which I've gazed longingly at from indoors as I've worked in overdrive at my dye studio or sewing room, so I knew I had to spend at least part of each day this holiday weekend outside and working in the earth, another wonderful way of balancing energy.

Our local garden center couldn't have been more ready for me. They display annuals and perennials so beautifully that I can't imagine anyone walking in there would be able to resist planting some little spot of flowers somewhere, even if just a single pot.
Here's the beginnings of my first wagon load of annuals. I've experimented over the years with a host of exotic annuals and perennials, but the basics have proven the most successful on our country property. They also give me more time for making art, which is way more important to me than high-maintenance gardens. Life is all about choices, eh? Now that I've completed weeding, the actual planting can take place over this whole week. I'm not rushing just to "get it done", I'm savoring the time outside.

This whole perennial bed was covered with grass and weeds --sorry I didn't take the before picture so you could appreciate just how much work it took to get to this state. There's a whole area that curves around to the right that I weeded as well. Not much in bloom yet except the bleeding heart and azalea, which you can't see here. The iris are just about ready to pop open, though.

Today the sunshine seems to have disappeared; it's cloudy and much cooler. I'll spend the next few days planting and Bob will mulch everything after I'm done. That means I can return soon to the Master List and decide what comes next. Art making will return again soon to claim my total absorption, but for these next few days, I'll continue to enjoy a few Better Homes & Gardens moments.

I have a student coming this weekend for two days of private studio time and will start preparing for that on Thursday and Friday. Today and tomorrow I'll be up to my elbows in dirt, surrounded by birds nesting, leaves rustling and insects humming as everything, including me, gets caught up in the launch of a new growing season.

No comments:

Post a Comment