pictures languishing

okay, okay. there are photos of the garden languishing in the secret magical places in my camera, and i ought to share a few. i've been up down, up, down again a lot lately, mostly thanks to sugar addiction and a job that smushes my heart (and not in the good way). it goes something like this...

-at some point, after working hard or feeling worn out, i want to give myself a treat. chemical imbalances tell me to go for sweets
-i buy some sweets and gorge myself, often while watching a documentary or reading
-about halfway through the sweets-eating, my body starts to yell at me that this is bad for me and i should stop
-i continue anyway, for some odd reason - either a programmed notion that i should 'finish what i start' or some sick sort of self-sabotage
-i either sit and rot on the couch a while longer (possibly watching a feel good movie or indulging in a novel) or get up and try to do something 'productive'
-productive usually means the garden, or some laundry, or some research into simpler lifeways. i get something positive done, and feel great about it for awhile
-and then i go back to work, or just get worn out again, or feel vaguely in a 'funk', and it starts all over again

during the higher points of this cycle i'm envisioning the life i want to lead, researching various ways to care for myself and my home in a simpler, more sustainable way, and feeling capable. i use my flannel toilet wipes and wash my laundry by hand and dream of photojournaling "the view from laundry day", as i inevitably come across something beautiful every time i set aside the ten, twenty, or at most thirty minutes it takes to forgo the machine and do it by hand. i pick back up a sewing project, teaching myself to make my own clothing, as bumpy a path as it may be. i go out to the garden and sow seeds, harvest leaves, and welcome newly sprouted plants into the world. i send letters to friends on once-used paper and in handmade envelopes. i look up land prices and feel torn between looking for land in kansas or in virginia. sometimes i brew up herbal infusions or make a salad, or eat something healthy to counter the prior sugar binge.

during the lower points in the cycle i see where others are in their quest for sustainable living, and i feel so stunted, so restrained by the need for money and land that i cry, and dream of digging the foundation for my own little home, and i wonder when that time will come for me. i look at a stain on my clothing and realize i am not always attentive at the laundry basin. i take up my sewing project and realize it will require sizable alteration that i'm not yet prepared to tackle. i look at the garden and feel that my plantings need more attention, more knowledge, more mulch (which requires scything, or oil use), and lament that the gardens are not bigger and providing of more sustenance. i think of all the friends and relatives who have not received letters from me, all the tasks and hours that i could be putting into my businesses to bring me closer to a sustainable future. i find myself at work again and hear my subconscious wondering how the hell i got here, Again. i look through the kitchen cabinets, fretting and petulant that fresh, healthy food requires work and effort.

in my heart and my idealistic mind, i wish i had the dedication to do a bit of each thing every day - to write one letter a day, do one personal ritual to nourish myself, cook a healthy meal for myself, do a bit of work for my businesses, tend the garden - basically, take one step each in many areas of my life that i want to evolve. but in reality, my moods and motivations come in waves, in cycles that ebb and flow by the week, or even month. and i find that some projects languish while others flourish, some friends keep popping into my mind while the odd letter patiently awaits a response. and the whole while, my socially-conditioned inner voice is condemning and reminding me of all that i should do and ought to do and should have done. it's hard to find that middle space, that balancing point between extremes. i suppose i'm getting there. two steps forward, one step back. dancing my way toward the dream.

and now, for some photographs to make up for all those large, dense paragraphs of personal drama.

wouldn't you know it, our driveway tends to sprout edible wild herbs. here's some happy violet all bunched up and thriving.

a bean sprout in the garden. it can't be more than two days old, and look at all that growth! this makes me smile. i built a 7' tall bean tipi out of limbs that fell during a storm.

peppers! holy crap! i saw a bunch of beautiful little blossoms, and then one day noticed about Seven peppers on each plant. i got these starts from the farmers market in manhattan. i forget what type they are, but they're supposed to be sweet. i have no idea what color they're supposed to be when they're ripe.

sweet world, the first squash. i love how one squash plant can make your garden look like its own little jungle.

 cherry tomatoes are my summertime solution to a quick snack. i am so happy they're finally fruiting... they've been blooming for a good week and a half.

me in the garden. i like shadows, and felt awful smart in my cowgirl hat, loose, light long-sleeved shirt (for optimal mosquito protection) and incredible striped socks (more mosquito protection).

lamb's ears, thriving in the front garden bed. i got a few cuttings from a very kind lady in manhattan through freecycle. i love love love lamb's ears. i am just smitten with their texture, it brings my soul so much joy.

mint! thank you spirits of germination, there is mint in my garden. i transplanted these as tiny tiny sprouts from a newspaper pot. they seem rather close to spearmint. i have scattered many more seeds nearby and am waiting for them to flourish and conquer so that i may harvest with abandon. peppermint iced tea rocks my world in the summer time.

i harvested this mullein near a local trail. the stalks are over 4' long and are now drying in my office, hanging from the curtain rods. i just bought canning jars so i have some place to put the dried, crushed leaves. mullein leaves as an infusion are great for lungs/coughs/allergies and general health.

and of course, the lovable franny/francis/francesca, enjoying her second-ever trip to the dog park with her friend ollie. boy was she pooped afterwards!! she is now five months old.


sinoth said…
"two steps forward, one step back. dancing my way toward the dream."

Ok, I had to leave a comment after reading that. Such a beautiful phrase :) I think it's pretty natural to go through waves like this -- constantly up and down. You just gotta figure out how to make the ups last longer and the downs shorter! Also, about doing a little of everything each day... sounds a bit too "job-like". As I'm sure you've noticed, when you're really into something you can feel it... you're able to pour every bit of yourself into the task. Other tasks may get a little neglected, but that's ok! Gotta do what your passion is telling you to do. Keeping your passion focused on one thing at a time is just something you gotta practice and get better at. (That's what I tell myself at least, as I'm not very good at it either :P)

It's great you know what you want and can make progress toward it.. just imagine being in your current situation but not having any direction. So, don't despair because you're not at idealized self yet. The fun is in the journey anyway, right? I'm sure once you have a house and acres of garden, you will still find something new to strive for. Just keep pressing forward, always forward, regardless of how large or small the steps are.

I completely sympathize on the land situation.. one day I'd love to stop this renting cycle and build a house (got my eyes on old shipping containers...) The price of land always puts the idea just out of reach :( Ah well, just have to keep your eyes open and be watching out for opportunities.