The Breath to Tend

Things come and go
They bend and break
The steady flow
–of breath

I could spend all day tending to my garden if given the chance, the energy and the money to continue to mold it into my vision. There is always something to pick, to cut back, to tend to, to plant, to dig up, to change. There is always more I want to do no matter how many hours I put in. Weeds to pull, flowers to dead head, bushes to trim, vegetables to collect, herbs to gather, grass to cut; more to tear down and more to build. It is not yet the swath of wildflowers I imagine but it’s getting there. It bears the beginning stages of the oasis I imagine it to be just a few years down the road.

But a garden must be tended slowly. Unless you are redoing the landscaping entirely, it must be given the time to grow and spread and renew itself year after year, to become large enough to pluck pieces of it up without leaving a scar. I am still in the beginning stages of this.

I watch my daisies slowly gaining speed along the wall of the house, pull up the lilies as they spread and threaten to block the sun, hog the soil. There are enough of them and they propagate so quickly that I am not concerned by my ruthlessness as I tear the stalks out by the root.

My lavender bushes are in full bloom and I’ve already undertaken a halfhearted harvest to keep them happy. I imagine a line of English lavender lining the bed by our driveway, my homage to the lavender fields of south france. Behind this the clumps of yellow lilies grow in concentric circles, interspersed with budding yarrow, wind flower, asiatic lillies and peonies. By next year I would like to see rows of coneflowers and black eyed Susan’s giving way to the cosmos, wild asters, shasta daisies and butterfly bushes that already grow along the house wall. There is still a lot of work to do. There is always a lot of work to do.

“What a homemaker you have become.” But how else would I fill the time? Who else will take the time to tend my home and tend my garden, to pull back the curtain of my imagination and begin to turn it into a reality? I can not sit idle while there is work to do, when the warm spring and summer months pass all too quickly. There will never be enough time to complete it all, not would I want there to be.

But there is always breath to begin again. What should we do when this breath runs out?


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