I always love this time of year. As I watch leaves emerging from tree branches, flowers and vegetables sprouting from the earth, and blooms appearing overnight, the world seems to be bursting with life and filled with limitless possibilities. From our garden soil, radishes, carrots, beets, greens, bean sprouts, cukes, tomatoes, zucchini, butternut squash, and my favorite - Thelma Sanders sweet potato squash - all climb toward the sky, and will soon produce our summer crop of vegetables. The flowers on our peonies are nearly ready to burst open into varying shades of white and pink and red. The clematis is in full bloom, climbing tall, winding itself up our picket fence. Zinnias are sprouting, and the lupine, daisies, and echinacea are all forming buds. I'm hopeful that we'll soon have sunflowers gowning among our mint, lavender, sage, and basil and that the four o'clocks transplanted from my mother's house last year will soon rise from the ground.
I must admit - I'm an impatient gardener. By the time we sow the seeds in our vegetable garden, I'm already longing to bite into a homegrown tomato or to clip fresh greens for our evening meal. Starting about a week after our seed planting extravaganza, John and I begin our daily ritual of peering into the garden, of walking along the flower beds to see what new sprouts may have appeared. We comment on the flowers, pointing out which ones will likely show their colorful faces. We water diligently. And we wait.
I always heard that it takes a few years for a garden to really show it's potential. Plants tucked into the ground rarely give a good show during their first year. Often, even with plenty to drink and lots of attention, they remain smaller than their more established bedmates, and hardly offer a glimpse of their true potential. Some, like our wisteria, take three long years to show their first blooms.
You may be wondering, "Why all of this garden talk?"
You see, lately, I've been doing a lot of thinking about creativity and about my own creative evolution. And in the past couple of weeks, I've realized how much I have to learn from my garden. There are days when I feel completely and utterly excited about the things I make. Then, the very next day, I find myself judging my creative impulses, doubting my potential to learn and grown, feeling frustrated with the rudimentary nature of my designs. And, on the next day, like a pendulum, I swing back again. During the times when I am feeling low, it helps me to walk among my flowers, noticing how far they have come in their few short years of living. I am aware that as their roots grow deeper into the soil, they become taller, stronger, more vibrant in color. Their blooms multiply and stick around longer than in their early days. They wilt less easily in the heat.
I like to remind myself that I'm not all that different from my flowers. It takes time to let those roots work their way into the earth. It takes time to develop a firm foundation. It takes time to blossom into your fullest potential. Just like me.