Futile or Not

Yesterday afternoon, as I walked from one room to another, I was struck by a sudden sense of futility, and I wondered what the heck I was doing. Well, I knew I was walking into a room, but that wasn’t what made me stop and think. It was this whole gardening thing. I’ve been so focused on babying my yard (as one friend puts it), that I hadn’t stop to look sideways at what I was doing. And when I did have that change of focus (going through literal doorways is often accompanied by going through figurative doorways) it all seemed so . . . futile. Ludicrous. I mean, does it really matter what we do with our time? Why spend so much time spent on what, in the end, is a rather unimportant project?

Luckily, my doorways are close to one another, so by the time I got to my destination, a second or two later, sanity (or at least a sanity of a different sort) prevailed, and I realized I was right, it doesn’t matter. In that case, working outside, enjoying the beauty of the green and purple and orange and pink and whatever other colors manage to punctuate my space, matters as much as anything does.

And anyway, I have to do something with my time, so foolish or not, I might as well be working outside. At least I’m not starting wars or gunrunning or selling drugs or anything else that would mess with my serenity. (So far, the only thing that’s messed with my serenity was going through the door yesterday, and it’s impossible to live in a house without ever going through a door.)

Writing about my yard also seems foolish, but then, it’s what I do (at the moment, anyway). I write and I garden.

Small talk.

At least I’m not writing about the weather. Oh, wait. I do write about the weather, too. Speaking of which, the high today will be close to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the low tomorrow night will be near freezing. Yikes.

As for today’s gardening chores, I planted the flowers I bought the other day, pulled weeds, searched for signs of seeds sprouting (found some!).

And I found a home for the bamboo with a friend of a friend, assuming it survives these temperature variances. I decided it was too much of a responsibility to try to keep the plant alive and at the same time try to keep its destructive powers under control. I have enough to deal with in my yard as it is.

As you can see, futile or not, here I am, back to gardening and gardening talk.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

4 Responses to “Futile or Not”

  1. Uthayanan Says:

    “Cultivate your garden”
    Lead a peaceful life without worrying about others.
    This expression comes from the work of Voltaire “Candide”. For the author, this meant setting aside metaphysical problems and dealing with solvable ones.
    The meaning has evolved.
    Gardening is productive when it’s comes with vegetables, fruits, flowers and medicinal plants for you.
    For professionals any plants will help.
    In my experiences gardening help morally, physically to have a calm and peace occupation with satisfaction.
    Unfortunately I have a pause with my gardening cause the grief.
    But I keep looking after with all plants at least with watering to keep them alive.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I like that saying: Cultivate your garden. It seems similar to my post of the other day about doing the job in front of you. As for solvable problems — I don’t have to worry about the bamboo anymore. The weather we’ve been having pretty much destroyed it, and if the root is still alive, I found someone who wants it.

  2. Carol J. Garvin Says:

    The older I get, the more often I find myself having those “what am I doing here” conversations with myself. They’re more about whether there’s any worth in my existence than if my trivial daily activities are serving any purpose, although I suppose those two thoughts are related. I posted similar thoughts on my blog a couple weeks ago. Fortunately, the thoughts pass and I get on with whatever task is at hand. It’s spring here in western Canada. The nights are still colder than usual (8°C last night, which is 46°F) but I tired of waiting for warmer weather and have just planted half a dozen deck tubs with my favourite annual bedding plants. The tubs remain lined up under the eaves, getting covered with plastic tents every evening to protect them from the cold nights. That probably defeats the purpose of planting them, but it gave me pleasure and I think that’s what gardening is all about.

    Which is a third thought tied to those first two. What constitutes a meaningful life for one person isn’t necessarily going to be the same for someone else. Satisfaction comes from different things. I feel like I’ve done a number of worthwhile jobs during my life, and at this stage contentment is my pursuit of choice. I had knee replacement surgery in March so my mobility has been significantly limited lately. I have a fridge magnet that says, “Bloom where you are planted.” So gardening on the deck, even if it’s earlier than the season warrants, is what’s right for my ‘here and now’ existence. It sounds like gardening’s right for you, too, so I don’t think you need to be concerned about doing it or writing about it. 🙂

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      You’re right about my thoughts being similar to yours. It’s better for me to worry about the triviality of gardening than to take one step further and worry about my own triviality.

      Your deck garden sounds like a good idea. With a late spring, you definitely need to get an early start.

      Best of luck with your knees!

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