Picking up the pace…maybe, maybe not?

It’s hard for me to believe that my first published blog post was in May 2011.In the early days of blogging I had goals with writing deadlines. Currently I struggle to find any time at all to sit and write.

I play around with the idea of letting it all go, yet here I am.

My family-at-large has kept me busy over the past several months as different members have had serious health issues, with some hospitalizations thrown in just to make life even more complex. I learned a long time ago that I’m comfortable in hospital settings if my primary role is bedside comforter.

I’m not nearly as efficient with anything truly medical. I leave that to my daughter, Aimee, a seasoned nursing professional.It’s not that I’m particularly squeamish, but I struggle with offering care when someone is in need and I can’t offer substantive relief.

But if you need someone to keep you company and maybe walk back and forth to the cafeteria to supplement your meager hospital tray, call on me.

It’s been a very interesting time as I’ve hopped back and forth between what NEEDS to be done versus what I want to do. Some weeks my priorities have shifted back and forth so dramatically that the only sensible thing to do was accept that I’m not running the show, and after taking a few deep breaths, find a nice soft place to land and wait for life to calm down.

That same thought has been with me as I assess my gardening needs. You may remember that last year at this time, given the dire predictions about water rationing and drought management, we took out our lawn and substituted an array of California natives.

Ha! Drought? Water rationing? I’m glad we made our changes when we did, since this year’s overabundance of rain would likely have confused my intentions. Instead, the hard work behind us, all my garden needed to do was accept the blessing of more water than it may ever see again.

I’ve been so happy with the results. I still see neighbors and other passersby stop and take in all the color. And for me, more than human appreciation, I’m enjoying the variety of pollinators and birds that swarm the plants.

I’m not very knowledgeable about local bees, but I’m attempting to learn. There are over 1,600 species of native bees found in California, and my goal is simply to see how many different species I might attract. I have at this point identified at least six. That’s a good start.

One of my favorite native plant additions is Penstemon spectaabilis, or Showy Penstemon.

California poppies reappeared, thanks to all the rain.

I don’t know if you remember television’s legendary Ron Popeil and his catchy slogan to sell the Ronco Rotisserie Oven? He became the target of a Saturday Night Live parody with “Set it and forget it,” marketing.

Well, this comes to mind with my wild and profuse garden. Natives do their own thing and don’t require a lot of taming. But “set it and forget it” doesn’t work here. The rain brought weeds. Lots of them. And some of the plants get so large they choke out a neighboring plant.From the street view most of these imperfections don’t show, so it’s nice to have a grace period within which I can slowly invest in cleanup.

Sitting in a hospital with a recuperating loved one provides multiple hours of assessing the value in taking life’s activities, including pastimes that provide great benefit, and exhibiting a quieter approach to industry. There was a time I operated off of lists with goals and felt anxious when I fell behind my expectations. Today? Not so much!

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s writings include the encouragement to “Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”

My garden struggled in the long drought years, but we hung in there together, and the garden and I were rewarded with this year’s deep and long drink!I appreciate nature’s example of resilience.

Gardening can be a very effective teaching method. I recommend taking notice!