On Watering

IMG_2949It’s summer, it’s South Carolina, and it’s HOT…and until recently, it’s been very dry. That means for those of us who want to have anything survive in our gardens or yards, we have to find a way to keep them watered. I’m lucky in that I have drip systems and sprinkler systems in some key locations, but still, there are other areas where I don’t have these and therefore, the watering is left to me. It is a nightly ritual, starting in mid-May and running  through mid-September, or longer. It gets old, or at least that’s how it seems to me–one more chore to be done at the end of the day, and meaning that evenings are non-existent, other than as the time to water.

My friend Julie who lives in Atlanta (so it’s just as HOT and also dry there this year too) came to visit a couple of weekends ago. Julie is a master gardener. A magazine spread should be done on her gardens, all in natural landscapes and among native trees and shrubs. In every place she’s ever lived in the 30 years I’ve known her, she has turned everything, including a paved parking lot outside of an urban loft (not the gentrified sort) into a botanical wonderland. Gardening for her is a passion. For me, it’s a means to an end of having what I want–flowers. Julie has a full time, very demanding job, and rarely gets home before 6:30 or 7:00 in the evening. Then, having a husband who’s not into gardening at all, she has to water,…and get dinner, and do the housework, and get ready for the next day to do it all again. All I have to do is water, and it still seems like too much on many evenings. How does Julie do it?

The secret: Whereas for me watering seems to be “another chore,” for Julie it’s a meditation–a respite from the demands of her job, home responsibilities, and people. She uses the time to slow down and think, to be alone with the plants, birds, and wildlife that inhabit her natural backyard paradise, and to re-energize.  I need to adopt her viewpoint on this.

As with everything, how it seems is all in how you look at it. Watering–chore or meditation? Your choice.

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