“That guy has been over at that pottin’ bench so long that I’m not sure if he’s pottin’ or poopin’!”
Mr. Hummingbird, full of zest and humor, comes into the greenhouse once every week or so to add a new red flower to his hummingbird feeder collection. You see, only red flowers will do. For hummers like red flowers best of all, don’t you know?
Our Assistant Manager dutifully toured Mr. Hummingbird through our vast and varied annual and perennial plants until they finally settled on (after about an hour…) a collection of red petunias and accents. The Assistant was potting them up special over at the potting bench and was apparently taking a few minutes too long for the process. Between the plants and the cleansing sweat and the customers and the endless supply of exercise…greenhouse work is quite invigorating. Healing almost.
As I alluded to in my previous post, MIA, I left my greenhouse job several weeks ago for more exciting endeavors (more on that to come soon), BUT I couldn’t move on to write about that adventure until I had taken a chance to reflect on the one that has passed!
To say that I am happy that I spent a month and a half of my life at a greenhouse is an understatement. It was not the kind of job that I usually place myself in, but still I’m thankful. Even better than that, I’m grateful. I’m grateful that I had employment the Monday after leaving my salaried job on Friday. I’m grateful that I got to learn about plants in a way that I never have before. I’m grateful that I got to work in the fresh, mountain air under warm sunshine. I’m grateful that digging my fingers in cool, damp dirt was part of my job description. I’m grateful that I got to work with a team that made me laugh every single day.
Greenhouses are a place for sensory overload. And yet they are a place for one of the best kinds of peace. There are plants for touching (chenille, Irish moss, purslane), plants for smelling (pineapple sage, mint, basil), plants for eating (strawberries, sorrel, parsley), and plants for just admiring (fuchsia, bleeding heart, million bells). Even that cool, damp feeling of the dirt on my fingers calms me. Although many garden tasks are solitary and mundane at times; they are also meditative. A friend of mine once spent several months in Asia at various monasteries and she told me of a particular meditation that has stuck with me over the years. She was tasked with cleaning up after an old Japanese maple – mindfully.
No leaf blower. No rake. Simply you, the leaves, and the ground. You must actively keep your mind clear as you pick up one leaf at a time and place it in your basket. Leaf after leaf after leaf. This is what I thought about each time I was tasked with deadheading marigolds, or petunias, or geraniums. Plant after plant after plant. Clear your mind. Zone in. Focus. Plant after plant after plant.
It’s true. I’m not making much money now. And many might even say that I need to get my life together. But I’m exploring options, and I like that. And while I’m exploring options I’m learning and, more importantly, I feel like I’m making a better contribution with my work.
Over the weekend I attended a friend’s wedding. Throughout the night I hung out with kids my age from NYC, from Long Island, and from Jersey and hearing their big city stories just reinforced that it doesn’t matter where you came from, where you live, what field you work in, or how much you currently make – we’re all on a journey. All journeys have bumps and all journeys have uncertainties. You just have to keep moving forward. Even if you slide backwards – keep moving forward.
Love. Love. Love.