A mini break!
After our guests checked out yesterday, we fell into a long, early summer slumber that took us most of the afternoon to wake up from. A strong breeze was in the crisp, dry air.
I was too tired to think, to move, really. All I could do was let the relaxation take over.
But deep inside I'm on the move, just about bubbling over with new ideas. After my nap yesterday I outlined two potential books that I want to write (this is why napping is so important. Let that brain rest a little and then watch out!), staked eighteen tomato plants, and sat in a field of clover. Yes, a field of clover. I planted one in the spring and it's beautiful and full. I sprinkled wildflower seeds all over it and now there are poppies and daisies and other things I can't identify coming up all over the place. It's beautiful.
Being out in that field with my camera made me realize that living without nature is out of the question for me. Wherever we've lived, we've always had a bit of outside space, whether it was a postage-stamp balcony with four basil plants or a full yard with grass and shrubs. But here, here in Italy, the connection with outside is so strong, so primordial, so basic.
My entire family came from Italy, and so many of them bought pieces of country land and now I completely understand why. It's impossible to be Italian and not want to have your hands in the dirt and your face in the sun.
I have a vision of my grandfather, a large, boisterous Italian man who was quick to smile, tending his tomato plants on his balcony in Greenwich, Connecticut. I wish I could tell him that I understand. I see my father, putting tubers of dahlias in every spring, dozens and dozens of them, because they were his favorite flower and in the late summer, passers-by would gasp in delight at the festival of color - the sunny faces in peach and magenta and yellow gracing the edge of his massive garden.
And I look up to the blue sky and tell my father yes, Daddy, I understand. I get it. I really do.
I used to be so frustrated with my gardening efforts. It was never good enough, pretty enough. Things never grew fast enough, in the right shape, and watering was just a drag at the end of a busy day. But this year, all of that has changed radically. I've accepted that it doesn't all have to be perfect. I've accepted that to enjoy my garden, I have to let it be however it's going to be. I can't believe the difference. I've cared for the garden, mind you, but more in a talking- loving - throw a little manure on the ground way rather than in a frustrated, angry, why-aren't-you-growing way. I've also stopped using weed killer of any kind. There are now green patches in the gravel. Why didn't I think of this earlier? Pansy seeds took to the wind and came up where the cars should be parked. In the vegetable patch, the cilantro, dill and parsley are exploding next to the romaine lettuce.
What's this shift all about? Why am I enjoying things that used to be a chore? Why am I simply letting nature take its course rather than trying to constrain it into some preconceived idea of pretty and acceptable? It seems to me that it's about accepting instead of forcing things. I keep getting that back when I ask for guidance. Everything seems more beautiful, more heightened, more precious.