Garden columnist Nancy Riebe is a surrogate relative for me. She is calming and easy to talk with about a wide variety of topics. She’s quick with a smile and encouragement.
She emails her column to me and always includes a little note. This week she wrote “This seems to be a year for garden dreams to come true.” I responded with the following:
“I can’t say the same for ‘garden dream year.’ Crab apple tree is dead. Asparagus is a no-show and some cat is using the bed as its bathroom. White flying bugs are infesting the lamb’s ear. Last year the honeysuckle was plagued with aphids and the effect is showing this spring. The Dog is peeing on tulip-peony bed and they don’t like it, unless brown-tinged leaves are normal. A change in tree and lilac trimming is effecting very old tulip bed with unique types. They are struggling to come up and I assume it is a lack of light. I could go on, but why?”
You know, your usual doom-and-gloom and the half-empty glass outlook that I easily slip into.
She responded with “You can label it your Wabi-Sabi garden: Nothing lasts. Nothing is perfect. Nothing is finished.”
Nancy has written a lot about Wabi-Sabi over the years. It’s a Japanese view that started out meaning something dour but has evolved into something like flawed beauty. Impermanence. Admiring the moment because it will be gone like brilliant autumn leaves. I could go on, but I worry about sounding like Mr. Miyagi.
Philosophy, religion, the humanities and even greeting cards are filled with the idea of living in the moment. It’s easy to say but hard to do because the past and the future and all its worries and fear can have such a firm grip.
I was reminded this weekend of letting go when I watched with trepidation as my son worked in the garage with all my tools scattered around the bench. He has started buying, refinishing and selling old skate boards. Will he clean up? Will he put everything away? Why is he pushing on the sander so hard? And so forth... When I went in there I saw the piece of wood. It was beautiful. And he looked up with pride. I dropped it then.