Focus on what is instead of what still needs to be done

Last summer I was up watering every morning. We had planted some trees (after spending months clearing out the jungle of weeds, overgrowth, and dead stuff). We had cleared and we were now starting to beautify. I wanted to make sure our efforts were rewarded.

They were. Three Hemlocks, two RedBuds, one TriColor Beech, plus a Japanese Maple, a Ninebark, a Smokebush, a Butterfly Bush, a Weigela, and lots of other smaller offerings all survived the drought.

They are thriving and beautiful. We did Round 2 of planting this spring, lots of shrubs and flowers. I have watered a few times, but so far Mother Nature is doing the job. We will determine next year if all were planted in proper shade or sun, and fill in accordingly.

When we first moved here, we had a gal come out and tell us what was “good” in the overgrowth and what was not so good. We learned to get rid of all the garlic mustard and the stuff I call sticky weed. We cleared and cleared and cleared. Then we cleared some more. We’ve had poison ivy and other itchy stuff, but transformation occurred.

She delighted in our gorgeous pocket of pretty, but sighed at the task ahead. “You’ve got a five-year plan here!”

I didn’t want to hear that. I thought we could whip the place into shape in one year. I wanted our Zen garden and I wanted it now, dammit!

We have come a long way, and the wandering path that we hand lined with stones makes me happy every time I look at it or walk it. The trees, the flowers, the lushness, the squirrels, the chipmunks, the bunnies, the turkeys, the birds, even the raccoons at night, all make me smile. There is a peace here.

My Prince Charming commented that if we had bought a place with a lovely yard we would maintain it and delight in it, yet this place is different and special for us because we created it. It is our design, our labor of love.

Our first ideas on paper morphed and evolved into what we have now. We didn’t want a manicured “perfect” garden and it would have ended up being a frustration. There is always something falling from the natural elements. Now we can wander and laugh at the critters leaving walnuts in the bark mulch or on the chairs that say “Sit.” Squirrels can read, who knew?

Last year it was so hot and dry that we didn’t have any berries populate our mulberry trees. This year, we harvested one small bowl so far. They are plentiful just not in easy reach.

Last summer I was a bit impatient with the progress. This summer I marvel at what we accomplished. We still have the back area to tend to and it has become a lush jungle of ferns and weeds. I want it all done and I want it all pretty. I also know that it will be and once we get to it, a lot can happen in a short time.

Maybe we will take five years, and that would be okay. I think as we spend our second summer here, we will have a better idea what we want that back area to be and it will come to fruition. I have learned to stop focusing on what still needs to be done and turn my attention to what is done and the beauty all around.

That is the lesson I needed.

(Kelly Epperson Simmons is an author/speaker/book coach who uses her expertise as ghostwriter and editor for NY Times Best Selling authors to help you write, edit and publish your book. Toll free 888-637-3563 or info@kellyepperson.com. wwwBirthThatBook.com)