When I was little, my mom couldn’t even pay me to help her weed. (Seriously, she would try to actually give me money). Eww, gross, get dirty? Touch something that had bugs in it and get soil under my nails? No thanks, give me a lawn mower and that’s my definition of helping do outside work, but don’t make me touch the stuff. And I’ll rake, but not pick up the leaves. Now ask me to do any cleaning INSIDE the house, and I was her girl hands down.
You would think that as an Earth sign, I would have loved something like gardening. Nope! Not me. I was the supreme girly girl; I wouldn’t tolerate dirt or any kind of mess. In fact, my mom tells me when I was really little, if I would get so much as a spot on my dress, she would have to change me into a new dress. Can you imagine?!? (Those who know me, probably can.)
Well here I am some odd years later, much more mature and open minded and trying new things. A few years ago, I ventured out and actually went camping with my kids, and I absolutely loved it. I’ve always admired and appreciated nature, and loved being in it and the outdoors, but from afar where I could stay clean. I always loved the beach, but I soaked up the sun instead of making sand castles or swimming in the water (because you came out and the sand stuck to you like mud).Yes, supreme clean freak here lol And when I found myself loving camping and being in THAT kind of outdoors, and not freaking out as much as I thought I would about the bugs, I started to realize dirt might not be so scary.
Which leads me to the moment I broke into gardening.
I bought some Asiatic tiger lily hybrid flowers from my son’s fundraiser at school because I am so drawn to them and love them. They are unique, beautiful, and reading up on them, also healing and a symbol of prosperity, so I find them an empowering flower. So I bought them thinking they’d last a few weeks in my house in my kitchen window. Then the teacher tells me, “No, honey, these are meant to be put into the ground. You need to plant them.” Well I think I looked like a deer caught in headlights at that moment because she had to ask me if I was okay.
Well, the more I thought of them growing in the then-walkway up to my door, the more it made me smile, as I knew it could use some color. I rented the house we lived in, but my landlord gave me carte blanche to do whatever I want. And he had a landscaper, so I thought I would hit him up and smile big and ask him if he could plant them when he had the time. Perfect plan!!
But out of nowhere, some little voice told me, “No Jenny, YOU plant them. Plant them with the kids and let them see how great it is to be in touch with mother Earth. YOU need to be in better touch with the Earth than just admiring it. Give back to it. Touch it, weed it, tend to it.”
Though I try sometimes…who am I to argue with spirit?
So like a big girl, I got brave and I instead asked the landscaper how to plant, and I made plans to do it that weekend. I had some weeds to pull (ha!) before planting these flowers, so he was telling me how to do that. As I’m taking it all in, of course my only thoughts are on my newly manicured fingernails and what in the world would I wear that could get dirty. Well, I figured it all out, got some gardening tools, gathered up my kids, my pretty lilies and another plant my daughter had gotten me from school that also needed to be planted. And with a big brave face, I said, ”Let’s go dig and give love to the Earth, kids!”
And we did. And wouldn’t you know it, I LOVED it! It had rained just a little the night before, just enough to moisten the ground but not drench it, so the ground felt cool beneath my fingers and it was just a really nice feeling to get in there with the dirt. It was kinda squishy and I think it liked me back! I didn’t even freak when I saw some worms in there. My mom stood there, with ta deer in the headlight look, and said, “I cannot believe YOU of all people are doing this. I need a picture, no one is going to believe this.”
And my kids, being kids, just got into the dirt and helped pull the weeds. They had no dirt issues and had a blast. For me, it was actually pretty therapeutic. The best part was that they actually lasted! They came back year after year until we moved. Okay, I’ll admit, they lasted because we had a landscaper, but still. I was the one who planted them, and it was quite an accomplishment for me.
That was a beautiful memory that I will cherish forever…but it was never meant to be repeated.
Years later, I’ve tried to recreate the magic. I’ve failed. You can actually read all about it in my short story, I Wish I Had a Green Thumb. Today, I look outside and see quite a bit of overgrown weeds and a reminder to call a gardener because as much as I became one with nature that day, I’m not a fan of pulling thorny weeds and repairing basketball-crushed foliage.
But to this day, I always see orange tiger lilies and smile.
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