Thank goodness for kids. No matter how entrenched we are in the quagmire of life’s inevitable To-Do lists, kids really do force us to get outside and explore.
Our little family is in the middle of one of the most traumatic of transitions — a cross-country move. Suffice it to say, things around here are particularly busy (re: stressful) this month as we inch closer to an enormous life change for the whole family. That is, I think we are inching closer — we are experiencing a couple of sizable snags with our apartment sale that are leaving us completely in limbo. Do you know how that is when you are in the midst of making a very important change in your life, and then it seems like the rug is pulled out from under you? Like every aspect of your life seems to fall apart a little bit — making that big change even more challenging than it already was?
I see this [annoying but fairly predictable] phenomenon all the time with my coaching clients. They make a big, important decision and gear themselves up to act on it. And then, the world seems to conspire against them for a few weeks — causing all kinds of additional problems and testing their resolve, I think. When I see this happen to these wonderful, inspiring clients, I always share the metaphor of cleaning out the attic: you go up there with big intentions, lots of energy, and the possibility of finding some great treasures. You begin. And…before the attic gets anymore organized and before you unearth anything really good, you and the attic get a whole lot dirtier before you get cleaner. Imagine all that dust flying. I think that’s just how it is when we do something important for ourselves. Messy, but ultimately worth it.
Still, few of the items on my To-Do list are very enticing right now (pack boxes, hire movers, research Oregon health insurance…. yuck.) So, instead of doing those things, Orlis and I decided to head to our favorite Botanical Gardens and do a little garden research. (those other things will get themselves done, right??)
Besides it being gorgeous, autumn, play-outside, East Coast weather (throw salt in my moving wounds, why don’t you!), a little time exploring someone else’s thriving garden helps me focus more on the glorious (and wholly ignorant) plans I have for my first home garden and less on how sad I am to leave my New York friends.
We had a great time studying up. Apparently, Orlis has his sights set on growing some Nasturtium because he wouldn’t take his hands off that sign for about 10 minutes. My fantasies include the old, sacred standards: rainbow chard, brussels sprouts, strawberries, and tomatoes, and maybe a pumpkin or two. Orlis did his part by scrupulously checking soil texture. We learned that a soil that sticks in the ears is great for growing kale! I took notes on the organized landscaping and labeling techniques and fantasized about crisp summer salads and fresh flowers on the table.
During our garden studies, out in the clean, crisp air, I took a few moments to gain a clearer perspective on this strange time our family is in. On the one hand, with the details of our move teetering on collapse, and therefore, our foreseeable whereabouts unknown, it’s difficult to know what one should do with his/her time. Pack? Unpack? Blog? Everything seems completely frustrating and lacks context. On the other hand, I look as this little 14-month-old guy of mine digs his hands into the dirt and piles leaves into a bucket and kisses big rocks with a fervor reserved for only those things in life you love most, and I’m reminded instantly of the truth about life in transition: we are always moving, we are always changing, things are always up in the air. And, we are always rooted in this deep, dark soil and the turning of the seasons that will take us where we need to go.
Ah, thank goodness for these insatiably curious, nature-hungry, tireless little teachers.