What you CAN Control

I’ve started a vegetable garden during the pandemic. My little garden is located in a local park less than a mile from my home. I often bring my dog, Hannah with me when I go there, which is often. She enjoys chasing the butterflies while I tend to my plot. We are usually the only ones there. It’s peaceful and I feel good when I’m there. My daily worries melt away as I tend to my vegetables and flowers.

When my late husband and I first met I had a garden in a community plot like the one I do now but much larger. In that case I was on a waiting list for going on 5 years. My name came up about a month before I met my late husband, Glenn.

Glenn soon started going to the garden with me and before too long he was more of a master gardener than I was. We had such a bounty that first year! So much so, that we gave away buckets of tomatoes, carrots, asparagus, zucchini, corn and potatoes.

We spent a lot of time there and had an amazing garden for over 10 years. I have many happy memories of that time. We started our garden when we our romance was just beginning and as our garden grew in its bounty, so did our love for each other. Both were success stories.

So, in early 2020, when I learned that my local municipality had a community garden plot, I had to get one of my own. To my surprise, I was only on the waiting list for less than two months and by early April I had planted.

My new garden is located inside a local park, less than a mile from my home. I often take my dog, Hannah with me and we are usually the only ones there. It’s a peaceful place where Monarch butterflies and Ravens visit, often. As I tend to my budding veggies, I think of Glenn and the time we shared gardening. It’s a special place where I can turn off the hassles and worries of the world and just be.

I was watching one of those Sunday morning shows recently. They had a piece about gardening during this awful pandemic. A man from NYC was featured who started a vegetable garden during this time by using raised garden beds on his roof. Before long, he had a huge bounty of fresh vegetables and flowers. He said that gardening was something that he could “control,” during such uncontrollable times.

Yes, that’s it, I thought. What a great way of looking at things. To find something that you “can,” control makes such perfect sense. This applies to COVID and all that brings. It can also apply to grief. Losing a loved one is something that is 100% out of our control. So many things in life are. Yet, if you plant a flower you can control its environment, you can adjust the soil, the nutrients to help with the best outcome. You can take a tiny seed and before too long turn it into a bounty. If you think about it there are other things that we can control. Writing, cooking, exercising, crafting. The list goes on and on.

So, if you are bereaved, find something to do that you can control. The arts and creativity can be a good place to start. When we spend time doing things creative our brains switch gears and take us to a place where time seems to disappear. This place is often referred to as the “sweet spot,” where not only do we lose our worries, but we can also create something really wonderful in the process.

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. 

—Steve Jobs

What will you create?

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