What am I Doing with my One Wild and Precious Life?

grass closeup

My fingernails are green. No, it’s not a new disease or a work or art. It’s spring.

And I finally got my priorities straight.

Usually at this time of year, I’m scheming and dreaming of the picture perfect garden with neatly tended vegetable plots and beds filled with flowers and shrubs. The designer garden. But this year, in the middle of perusing my packets of seeds, I looked out at the tall grass along my weed choked beds and realized that the first task at hand was maintenance: edging.

My landlord mows the lawn and leaves great swaths of tall grass along the borders. In the past, I have continued on with my wild ideas and then found myself with too many projects and not enough time for the basics. So yesterday, I started with the weed whacker and what a transformation. Suddenly my whole place looked more upscale. So, after I cleaned the grass clippings from my machine, I remembered my gloves and dug into the front bed that had been infiltrated with buttercups. Which is another great satisfaction: now when I arrive home, I will be greeted with tidiness. This means that instead of sighing wistfully at what needs to be done, I start imagining how to fill that beautiful bare soil.

Which brings me to this: have you seen The New Sunset Wester Garden book? I found it at the library and had to bring it home because it has color photos. Lots of them. It’s an incredible encyclopedia of plants and for me, pictures are the deal. They help me visualize the possibilities. And since I just got the maintenance part out of the way, I’m ready to clear the weeds from the rest of the beds and get to planting.

But more important than visions of boquets and nutritious meals is the question posed by Mary Oliver in her poem “Summer Days”:

“what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”

Gardening gives me time to think.  Time to contemplate good questions. Down on my knees in the garden, I hope to find some interesting answers.

What are you doing with your one wild and precious life?

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