Metaphors of gardening used in exchange with writing and painting are well-known, perhaps to the point of cliche’. Many books have been published about famous poets and painters who have also been fabulous gardeners. I don’t think we can emphasize enough the importance of a little beauty in bolstering the creative spirit, though. Whether you grow a vegetable garden in the back 40 or pot your pretty plants in a hanging basket overlooking the French Quarter, tending to beauty in a physical way reminds us to tend to the beauty of our spiritual selves. (See my garden above.)
Now, I live with a gardener. A real gardener who would rather be out in that garden planting, picking rocks and planning than anywhere else in the world. I’m not kidding. This is her passion, at least for now. She works hard at it every day. And everytime she comes in from working the rows, she is happy and content. She is also a great poet, but that is on the back burner for now while she tends her bees and hoes to the end of the row. (See Leigh’s garden below).
I am a writer with a garden. It’s a small garden that sits in front of my screened in porch. Since the name of our garden is Larrapin and the theme is that everything feeds something, it took a moment for me to convince my gardener that the beauty of my little garden feeds my soul. That it is, indeed, food. Food for thought. And it gives me a break from sitting when I get tired. I simply walk out the door and do a little weeding and planting and picking. My tiny flowers fit in tiny vases that sit on the shelf where my desktop rests. I admit that I insist on having some of Henry Chotkowski’s peonies, which are not small, but who can argue with such a grand and glorious flower?
So this brief post is just to say, if you don’t have one already, plant a little garden today. Get your hands dirty, for creating can be dirty work. Plant some seeds. Every idea is a seed waiting to be planted. Feed and water them with dedication and determination and they will grow. Watching your garden flourish can be a wonderful antidote to waiting for that submission decision. The rewards of gardening are obvious and fairly quick in comparison. And don’t forget to pull those unsightly weeds. Even a garden needs editing. Don’t be fooled by the thistle with the little flower on top–it, too, must go if the rest of your garden is to thrive.
When it’s time to rest, sit back and study the loveliness you’ve brought into the world. Rest your eyes on it. Allow it to soothe your soul. Red and purple and green and yellow–these are the colors of success that serve to encourage our mental constructs and creations. Throw in some herbs and you can even smell the rich variety of Earth calling us to create and recreate. Grow your garden. Feed your birds. Never be afraid to start from scratch, because that is mostly how it’s done. We wrap our hand around the shovel or the pen, and simply begin. Believe me, there will be flowers in the end.