The Quarantine Hobby. We’ve all developed one: baking bread, sewing masks, watching Netflix non-stop for days on end… In my case, it has been gardening. It just so happened that the start of the Stay-At-Home order took place right around the start of the planting season so I figured I might as well put in a few things.

Well, the hobby has grown. Pun intended. I look forward to going outside every day after work for an hour or so and just puttering around. I can always find something that needs doing and none of it requires a great deal of brainpower or emotional bandwidth. Watering plants. Pulling up Bermuda grass. Piling up sticks. Shoveling pine needles. It’s delightfully dirty and delightfully dull.

If gardening is teaching me anything, it’s that some things can’t be accomplished with grand gestures. The changes, if I even notice them, are small: this plant has turned it’s leaves upwards. That plant has put out a new shoot. The ragged old enchinacea plant whose leaves were worm-eaten to the point of being lace has rallied. But collectively, over time, I’m able to see the growth: the jalapeno plant is nearly knee high, my tea roses have put out a sturdy new cane, my collection of stones around the basil plant has finally formed a complete circle. Etc.

So gardening is teaching me a lot about faith: There’s a lot of work taking place outside the scope of my observation: roots digging down below, flowers getting pollinated, new suckers beginning to form. All I do is give a bit of water, pinch off the withering bits, and try to keep the weeds at bay while hoping for the best.

Yesterday, I turned my attention to a line of pine trees along the driveway that needed pruning. I spent over an hour sawing off dead and dried branches in an effort to clear out the undergrowth, assuming that I would save the trimmings for the fire pit. But, being me, I got creative with them instead and found myself arranging the branches into a human sized nest. I’m not sure why: it just seemed like a thing to do. The branches were so brittle and dry that they crumbled as much as they bent, but somehow I managed to get a pretty good structure going. I cozied up inside after my morning run this morning and just sat for a while contemplating life. It’s a big, chaotic, unpredictable world out there: but maybe it doesn’t need to be fixed with grand gestures: maybe it is enough to just make a little progress every day and hope for the best.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on June 3, 2020.

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