After dinner tonight I left the plates on the bench and walked outside to continue harvesting and pruning my lavender bush. I started this a couple of days ago. I think I may have also abandoned the dishes on the bench that lunchtime and let them rest. There will be dishes and dirt continually. Things to clean in a house with two boys under 3. But I figured it’s a vicious cycle. Gardening to me is much more hopeful. I’m trying to plant a robust, drought-friendly garden that will keep giving back to me and others in years to come. And here I am writing about it with the scent of the lavender still lingering on my fingers. Time and space to leave everything undone in the house and for that I am proud of myself.
Back to those lavender bushes. My two lavender bushes have bloomed this season. I gave them a hard prune last year and for that I am glad. So time to do it again and this time I’m trying to dry some of the flowers. They’ve been tall and robust, swaying in the breeze. And this la nina has been a boon for us out west. It’s been life and growth. The lavender has also delighted me in an unexpected way. Last year I chippered a lot of the lavender and spread it all over the garden as mulch. And this year, lavender seedlings have popped up all over our yard. No doubt, helped along by this rain we have had. I’ve potted up a lot of the lavender, given some to friends and planted and transplanted it all over my garden.
It was something about getting married and settling down that got me interested in gardening. But it has taught me so much about timing, patience, listening and observing. I look back on my years in my 20s and even earlier when I had schedules and blocks of times to set aside to complete tasks. Like some robot who could turn on and off with a switch of a button. I was such a diligent kid. I don’t think my parents ever had to pester me about completing my homework. I had a chart made up for myself that I dutifully ticked off when I did my 1 hour flute practice and 30 minute piano practice each day.
Oh to be human is so much more of an ebb and flow these days for me. Especially when you’re trying to look after two little kids. Sometimes I can predict my peaks and troughs and at other times I surprise myself with my low energy or high energy and motivation. I hit a wall and I don’t feel like doing anything … and I don’t see it coming. Other times I am awake till midnight working away on something.
On the first day of spring, September 1, I was awake early and I couldn’t sleep. I had an urge to get up and go for a desert walk by myself. Truth is I was actually at a really low point and I needed something. The boys all asleep in bed. It was quiet and still. The beauty of the colours was amazing and it energized me. I still reminiscence about that moment now. The other week, I was awake early again and I thought I’d try and replicate that moment. Changed my clothes, put on my shoes and headed out the door around 5am. It was all misty and foggy. So unlike a Broken Hill morning. I suddenly didn’t feel like going for a walk. The weather put me off. I abandoned it and started weeding the verge where I have Sturt Desert Pea’s growing.
This month is Mental Health Month. At a playgroup I attend I was given a ‘Calendar of Tips to Tune In’. I’ve had it on my fridge. Tried to remind myself a couple of times to read it and do as it suggests. “Do something creative – paint, draw, knit or cook” said day 11. I did painting that night. Didn’t finish but I did kind of felt good after. Haven’t really felt motivated by the other suggestions. Felt like another thing on my to do list.
Tonight I’ve sat down to write something. Writing to me is also this urge I get, much like that urge to get up and walk the other day. My husband has had the last 10 days off work so let’s be real, the extra help with looking after the boys has given me time and space to actually go with the flow a bit more. I don’t live in a state of flowness. The bench doesn’t have to be clean tonight but I do like to have it clean most nights. I can let go when I’ve got freedom to let go. But I think tools like the calendar I got given are trying to help us tap into that part of being human where we can be alive to the world and all it has to offer us. When we’re that person we offer more to ourselves and to each other. That’s the kind of person I want to be. I know its hard in this season of life but all the more reason to fight for it in the moments that are given to us.