Unscheduled Hours

It’s amazing how many hours there are in a day when you don’t spend four hours working in the yard in the morning and four hours caregiving in the late afternoon.

Well, actually, there are the same number of hours in a day no matter what you are doing, but without all those hours of scheduled activity, there are a lot of free hours.

Normally, I’d be working outside doing something — cleaning out my overgrown gardens, for example — but it’s a cold, dark day and I don’t have to go to my job, so after a short walk, I’ve been treating myself to an entire day inside. So many hours to do nothing! Not that I do nothing, you understand, it’s that I could if I wanted to. Mostly I’ve been reading and relaxing and looking out the window, planning my next gardening project.

What struck me today is how, of all my creative endeavors over the years, gardening seems to be the most multi-faceted. Painters use their minds and eyes and hands to create their art. Writers use their minds and hands (or mouth if using speech-to-text software) to create their art. But gardeners use minds, eyes, hands, and bodies. (Sculpting is also physical, but since I’ve never sculpted, my premise can still stand. And anyway, a garden is a type of sculpture — a living sculpture.)

Where many artists and writers rely on their own knowledge and inspiration, letting paint or words flow from within, as a new gardener, I can’t do that since I have no “within” — no intrinsic knowledge of gardening. So in addition to the other facets of landscaping as an artform I’ve already listed, I’d have to add research. Lots of research. Not only do I need to learn what plants will work in this climate and in this soil, I have to learn how to care for them. Admittedly, I often get the plants or seeds first and then figure out what to do with them, but now that I’m becoming more familiar with this artform, I’m doing more preparation and planning.

Also, I am paying more attention to the aesthetics of my garden plots and the yard as a whole rather than just concentrating on each individual plant. Because of this, I’ve been doing more to sculpt the shape of the gardens and create a more pleasing balance, such as replacing low-lying plants with taller ones or vice versa. And standing at the window, looking out, gives me a broader view of the yard and a better sense of what I can do in the future.

So, even though I’m treating myself to a rare day inside, apparently, my thoughts are still outside.

But that’s okay. There are a lot of unscheduled hours in this chilly day to use however I wish.

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What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

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