Step by Step

March in Washington – the growing begins. Richard Mabey writes in “Flora Britannica” that “The opening of flowers is a major part of the definition of spring.” That seems obvious, but before the welcome blossoms – weeds and grass are the opening acts of spring.

I saw the young writer the other day, and when I asked her how she was, she said, “Oh OK, but overwhelmed.” I said “Work?” and she said “No this…” indicating the yard of her tiny, and new to her, house.

If the growing begins while you are away or with your head in a manuscript, the first thing you see is overgrown grass and associated lowlife like shotweed, cat’s ears, and dandelions. To regard it all at once is the very definition of overwhelm.

My garden seems a modest garden here in the big woods and then, when I actually tangle with it, completely overwhelming in the work to be done. When faced with a large project, Anne Lamott famously counseled “Bird by Bird.”

This morning watching a newt cross the paved road with a deliberate pace that defied the danger of his route, I thought step-by-step. He crossed, one half-inch at a time, his mind on his goal (I’ve never seen, but have heard of the newt ball he’s headed for). It’s that half inch that impressed me – one little clawed foot, front left, then right, then back left, then right.

So I will just begin to write about the garden bit by bit, (work in it as well), focusing on flowers as they bloom, noticing where and when, and explaining why this plant in this garden.

Except for the weedy lawn – no bloom followed by seeds there. It’s time to get out the mower and off with the heads!

2 thoughts on “Step by Step

  1. Yesterday I noticed the tips of bulb plants braving the 32 degree air in the space next to the house foundation where the snow is slowly receding.
    I think I still have a couple of months before I can legitimately be overwhelmed by the garden.

  2. Glad you can work in the garden. We are weeks away here in Boulder. But we are looking forward to it (I call it playing in the dirt).

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