Patience is not something I have lots of, despite the fact that I would like to say it is something that comes naturally, it does not. It never has, and although I have aimed to cultivate it, I cannot say I have been entirely successful. Imagination, vision, creativity, I have oodles of that stuff. Trouble is, you sort of need both when you are stitching together a long time dream. I think the ladies who sit in quilting circles around the world know this better than most. I know that my Polish Oma has no problem accepting the time it takes for the compost to ripen, and the seed to grow into a fruit, for the time it takes sauerkraut to ferment and the pig to fatten. She just keep laughing and accepting what life sends her way. I admire her, I always have.
I would like to tell you that I can peacefully accept the time it takes for a vision to be birthed, and that I love “the process” more than the result, but that would not be the whole truth. Hell, I don’t even think that would be half the truth, although I would like it to be. Yes, any romantic notions I had of gardening in the countryside are being slightly adjusted this week, as the autumn rains begin to fall and Mark and I hand-pick our freshly cleared garden spot stone by stone. I try not to look up too often, because I swear that stones muliply, faster than bunnies in spring.
Mark seems to have found a lovely groove with the stones, some kind of one-ness. He has a serene monk’s look on his face that I am sort of jealous of. Yes, I can be an impatient little grasshopper, I have to own that. Although, the funny thing is, when I asked Mark what his secret was to his apparent zenness, he said, it wasn’t exactly zen. He said it felt more like he was playing some kind of giant great game, and he was just completing tasks, like some kind of reality TV show contestant. He said that the serenity was more likely exhaustion.
Today’s task is to find spoiled hay and steer manure to add to the topsoil that is being delivered tomorrow and then we simply wait. We wait for winter to do it’s magic, for the hay and manure to feed the soil. There are of course other projects waiting for our attention once the garden is percolating. I think this is where my impatience really threatens to have me for supper, because I know that I am standing in a sea of uncompleted projects that extend for miles in all directions. I tell myself, I have my whole life to get it done, and this helps for a minute. I hum sanskrit mantra’s as I pick stones, I take deep breaths and this helps too, but the impatience, it doesn’t totally go away. I, like my garden, am a work in progress. ( I should have t-shirt made with that on it). I have though, found some way to satisfy this monster of mine and that is by doing little projects that have the potential to be completed in a day or an hour. Like dishes drying in a rack. Like freshly baked apple crisp. Like a bouquet of wild flowers on the window sill. Like laundry hanging in the wind. Like stacking wood.
So there you have it. My ugly confession, but those of you who know me, know that I am not really telling a secret, just owning up to an undeniable fact. I am also hopeful that this marvelous and saintly virtue will not always be a stranger to me, that I might one day accept the passage of time and embrace “the process.” And as I sip my tea this morning, and look out at the September rains, I feel a sense of peace, that might even contain within it, the seed of patience, so perhaps it’s not all lost. Mostly though, I watch my wise dog, because he’s got this thing totally figured out.