Okay, it wasn't just me. Beloved Husband and both kids helped. It was a ton of work, but well worth it, because we now have this:
The neighbors, who thought we were crazy when we started, have all commented on how much they love it. And I love that it will change as the season progresses. By mid-summer, it will have lots of yellow and orange flowers blooming, and by fall, the grasses will be tall and all shades of yellow, gold, and red, some with feathery pink seed heads.
Yesterday, I was pulling weeds (yes, I pull them by hand, more on that in a moment) to the susurrus of baby cardinals begging for food in our lilac. As long as I kept my head down, the parents were content to come and go. I also discovered a bumblebee nest behind that pinkish plant in the foreground (Penstemon, for anyone who's curious).
Weed-pulling: a back-breaking, mindless waste of time, right? Lots of people think so, but I enjoy it. (Now you know why our neighbors think we're nuts.) I like it for many reasons.
- It's hard work, but at the end of the day, I can look at the planting bed and see the results. There's very little instant gratification in writing.
- It's back-breaking, but in a different way from writing. it stretches muscles that sit for too long when I write, so in a way it's soothing. Besides, there's something satisfying about going to bed a bit sore from a hard day's work. And I sleep better.
- It's mindless, which gives my brain a break from constant focus and thought. The inability to sustain focus on something for a prolonged period of time (or the increasing difficulty in doing so as time progresses) is called directional attention fatigue, and studies show that exposure to nature is the best way to allow the brain to recoup and revitalize (source).
- It's inspirational. A good many of my magazine article and picture book ideas (the non-fiction ones) are based on things I have seen while gardening or spending time outside. Gardening is also the perfect opportunity to figure out what, exactly, that random thing that just happened in my novel really means, and how it will play out later in the story (or if I should get rid of it).
|eastern swallowtail butterfly|