Spring comes early to California’s Central Valley. When other states are knee deep in snow, our temps are mild, usually in the mid 60’s and rarely going below 36 at night. By Valentine’s Day our corner of the globe explodes in color. Trees of every variety burst into blossom filling the air with a heady scent. It is then that almond orchards are covered in “Central Valley snow”, their snowy white blossoms stretching as far as the eye can see. It truly is a spectacular sight.
This is one of my favorite times of year. It is the time when the garden calls, beckoning me to come and play. Seriously, I get giddy just thinking about it. My garden is my playground, my sanctuary, and my local therapist all rolled into one wonderful, but not very large, piece of heaven. With trimmers and trowel in hand I answer the call, ready to clear away the winter debris. Dead branches and foliage are trimmed, the leaves that have not already become mulch are cleared out of pots and garden beds. As I trim and clean, my mind, my very soul begins to clear itself of the winter doldrums. The dirt under my nails and the mud on my pants is better medicine to my being than any drug could ever be. Each bucket of decaying matter, each tender shoot that is uncovered, lets my mind and heart open once again to the possibilities of the new season ahead of me.
If you garden, you know that a good portion of what you do is all about the possibilities. You plant a seed, give it water and fertilizer ever knowing that there is a distinct possibility that it may never germinate. Or perhaps a bird may eat it or an unseasonal cold snap may end its tentative life. It may thrive, poking its tender head above the soil, only to be eaten by a ravenous snail or earwig. Yet we continue to plant, for the wonder, for the joy, for the possibility of a gorgeous row of happy-faced pansies or a deep green summer squash. We understand the risks involved but are willing to put in the work, take the chance, all for the reward of a red, ripe tomato for our summer salad.
Possibilities. Life, like the garden, is all about the possibilities. Each idea, each dream we have is a possibility, calling to us like the garden to come out and play, to take a chance on making it grow. We have to work on these ideas and dreams, give them enough energy, food and water so they may grow properly. In the process of growing our possibilities into realities we are going to get sweaty and dirty. We will need to get down on our hands and knees and pull out the weeds of doubt that threaten to strangle our garden. Just like the tender plant that stretches towards the sunshine, gaining strength with its warmth, we too must make sure that there is enough light, enough energy, to see our ideas come to fruition. We must be vigilant, monitoring them as they grow. We may need to adjust the amount of water so that they do not drown in worry, or be parched by the heat of our fears. An occasional sprinkling of the fertilizer of a new discovery or a different way of looking at our ideas, will help them thrive. On occasion we may need to pinch back the stray tendrils of thought, the runners and branches that stray from the garden plot, before they take us off task and disorder our garden. We work, we prune, we shape and we feed our plants, our ideas, our dreams, until that day when we walk out and can revel at the glorious garden we have created.
Once our plants, our possibilities have grown to maturity, our work is still not done. We have to harvest those fruits, prepare them for the table, put them to use. We could gorge on our success, letting the juice of attainment drip down our chins like a red, ripe, strawberry. But that is fleeting, an act of momentary self-gratification. Instead we should strive to preserve our bounty, make the moment last. While we can’t make jelly out of our realized ideas and dreams, we could “can” them. Using the tools of social media, journaling, a new Etsy store or a published novel, they are preserved, allowing us to savor them when winter once again brings its chilling winds and waning light. As our garden slumbers, awaiting the spring, and with it new possibilities, we shall be able to look back on our accomplishments with pride and gratitude for the garden that brought them forth.
As spring bursts forth in your piece of this glorious world, listen for the call of the garden. For it is there you will find your possibilities. Whether it may be a physical garden or the garden of your mind, it is there you can find the joy of planting, nurturing and harvesting your own plants of possibility. May they grow beyond your wildest dreams.