Jun 20, 2012

Life Lessons from the Garden

My garden peas are holding on tightly as they grow and climb.

I am not very good at handling stress. I compare my weaknesses to others' strengths and I am very hard on myself. I am not very patient with myself either. I used to think I was really good at handling stress. Either my stresses are getting heavier, or I am getting weaker, but I hope it's not that I'm getting weaker. I am not in the phase of life I used to be in, say college, when you had a 4-year plan mapped out and student loans to make the trip possible. I am now in that thirty-something phase where there is no 4-year plan and there are no student loans. I'm a grown-up now and I need to have it all figured out, right? Well, I know some things that I definitely want: I want a car with power locks and power windows and I want a house with a garage and dishwasher to name a few at the top of my list. I really, really want to be a successful painter. Success is a funny word. There are many definitions. I guess to some I am successful, to others maybe not so much. But I also really want a family. It hasn't been in the cards for me so far in life so I have made with my life what I can: paintings. That is how I create. I dearly love to paint. I love it more this year than I did last year, and so on. Some days are just harder than others.

I have a garden in my backyard that does a pretty good job depending on the year. I plant corns, squashes, cucumbers, peppers, beets, carrots, onions, and potatoes, but my favorite are the peas. I love fresh peas from the garden. Last night I picked a gigantic bowl of peas and shelled them all while watching an old Audrey Hepburn movie. I ended up with six cups of peas. They are all now all blanched and vacuum sealed...safely tucked away in my freezer next to the others I've put up already. I can enjoy the taste of fresh garden peas for the next 12 months.

A few days ago I was working in the garden instead of working on a painting. I was picking peas. I have always loved how their curly tendrils grab the twine as the plant climbs. I decided to try and get a good shot of this so I went inside and came back out with my camera. I took many photos but none showed the depth I was looking for. Then I got the one I wanted. I snapped the photo at the top of this post and I love it; I want to make a large print of it to hang on my wall and be reminded of the lesson I learned that morning while being out in the garden. That lesson is this: to get through life, you have to have something to hold on to that is stronger than you are. Look at that picture I took, and look how tightly those little plants are holding on. Sure the peas themselves are amazing: an entire plant grew from a tiny seed and it will make food for me to eat, but without something to hold on to while they grow, they can't support themselves and they fall down to the ground. I know I need to get through this un-mapped and confusing phase of my life, and thanks to my garden, I now have a better idea of how to do just that. I will just hold on to something that is stronger than me. While I am doing that, I will continue to paint and find joy and fulfillment in that creative process. I am so glad I can paint and that I can share my paintings with others.


Sunny said...

LOVE this Cristall. I too learn a lot from the garden. I'm glad you have something stronger than yourself to hold on to. More than one from my vantage point.I love that picture too. Especially combined with your garden inspiration. I seriously got teary reading this post I love it! And I love you too. I think your amazing! So glad you are my friend! ( I kinda brag about you all the time )

Sunny said...

Oh and a suggestion for the name of your picture (not that you asked for any) 'Finding strength beyond my own' or simply 'The climb' but then you have Miley Cyrus running around your head all the time and that just leaves a bit of a fluffy feeling. :) Did you ever think of painting it?

Harrisons said...

Beautiful Cristall. Just like you! You are so amazing.

Sunny said...

I was looking at my peas this morning and noticed that they also hold on tight to their fellow climbers. We need each other too. :)