Last weekend I looked into our backyard; admiring the lush green growth upon our landscape. ALL WEEDS.
Tackling my side yard had not been on my to-do list but I found myself digging out shovels, my gardening boots, gloves and our yard trash bin. The hubs awakened and groaned; finding me outside. Between the two of us our yard waste bin was full to the brim in one hour. It had brought me perspective.
Sixteen years ago when the hubs and I bought our first home; we imagined planting our roots. We had just returned to our home state after three years of military moves and we were excited. With each apartment we had resided in, I had always planted something in a container and looked forward to the time when we could settle into a space we could call our very own. To finally plant seeds into the ground versus a container.
“Perspective. noun. the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance” Def. 2b. Merriam-Webster Online. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2015.
Four escrows later I looked upon the weeds and neglected garden. There are no more impending military moves in our future; having finally reached our destination. There are no seeds planted in the garden we always dreamed about. Only weeds. I set to work to clear the canvas. I had gotten too caught up in keeping with the Joneses and in doing things for reasons unworthy; forgetting the things that really mattered. I need to plant seeds once again.
I am experiencing growth in many ways.
Clearing the weeds I discovered the growth from the stems transplanted from my late cousin’s backyard. They were huge elephant leaves; a mini tropical jungle hidden in my side yard. It is literally, a part of my family tree and I hadn’t been able to see them. I touched the glossy elephant ear-like leaves ; the tears of joy silently coursing down my cheeks. It is in gardening that I return to my roots and recall my father stringing rope for string bean vines; my mother clipping her roses and humming happily to herself. These memories had been buried deep and it has been a long time in finding them.
I am finally giving voice to the white elephants sitting in the room. I say the things that are hard; the things people don’t want to hear. For years I have kept my thoughts to myself; trying to keep the peace. I’ve realized this is my cowardice. No longer do I rely on others to affirm me. I am done hiding within the weeds and busywork; losing sight of the forest for the trees.
East of the sun and west of the moon,
We’ll build a dream house of love, dear.
Close to the sun in the day,
Near to the moon at night,
We’ll live in a lovely way, dear,
Sharing our love in the pale moonlight.
Just you and I,
Forever and a day;
Love will not die,
We’ll keep it that way,
Up among the stars we’ll find
A harmony of life to a lovely tune,
East of the sun and west of the moon, dear,
East of the sun and west of the moon.
~ written by Brooks Bowman. Performed by Diana Krall (1999).
The song above was given as part of a wedding CD from the bff in 2000; serving as her seven month pregnant matron-of-honor. I had played it in my car stereo while my son kicked within the confines of my ever growing belly. Recently I had been searching for one of my all-time favorite jazz songs, “Take Five” by the Dave Brubeck Quartet when I found Diana Krall instead. As a soon-to-be mother I had become immersed in the Mozart effect; constantly playing classical music to create my baby genius LOL. But this particular jazz tune had become my fave as I planted our garden; anticipating the arrival of our firstborn son and happily thinking of my newly married bff. It became my go-to lullaby for all three of my boys. We were creating our dream house; building a life for our growing family.
As I stared at the YouTube video I turned to find my eldest son sitting beside me. He had remembered this song too and I glanced at him with watery eyes. Many nights I had rocked this jaundiced son to sleep in my arms after nursing; singing the words. Each day I had rejoiced as my seedlings began to grow; nurturing the green stalks and taking pictures weekly to track their progress. When the hubs left for deployment I had journalled the six months with our son beside the plants, to show his growth and the garden’s progress. His aircraft carrier was due to return September 11, 2001. A week later was our son’s first birthday.
Gardening was forgotten when life got in the way. We soon moved to our second home, became pregnant with our second son and my mother had called on a daily basis to tell me someone had stolen the deed to her home. Some days she couldn’t recall who I was. Two years later we buried her and two years after that, arrived our third son.
I am finding the music once again.
The seeds, planted years before, began to break through the surface after years of busily shuttling kids to and fro to activities that didn’t appeal to them. After years of exposing my children to various team and individual sports and extra-curricular classes I had lost sight of the forest in the trees. I, the one who played piano at age five through sixteen; the saxophonist who played through college, had never considered this option for my own kids. The Mozart effect hadn’t made my sons smarter. It had given them appreciation for music. Their one true love had been sown long ago and I had been deaf and blind.
I am now learning to sit still in the darkened room; to give up the various schedules and to-do lists and just listen. For the sheer joy of it. Music has given me purpose; to till the soil and allow new things to grow. It was the perspective I had needed. I am creating my garden in my house, one sown seed at a time. I have found my desire to serve once again; to advocate for something important to me. The music swells within and I finally hear it. I have found my rhythm.