© Another Day in the Country
I really hate to admit that I’m a procrastinator, but I am. Doing things at the last minute is a trending topic at my house. If there’s an art project to complete or an article to be written, too often I’m hammering them out right before the deadline. For years, I’ve excused myself by saying “that’s the nature of the beast,” because it just seems to go along with the creative, artistic, personality style; but is this just an excuse or a very bad habit?
Some would say, “if it works, don’t knock it,” and it does seem to get the job done. It isn’t that I completely ignore getting things done on time; it just seems that a certain amount of pressure is needed for me to get going.
This week it was the promise of colder weather that got me going. You may not call this an artistic deadline, but there is the eternal search for beauty and the yearning for hope in a dark place — all fuel for artistic endeavors — that keep me planting tulips year after year, even as the squirrels dig them up.
Every fall, my photographer’s eye is drawn to the illustrations on the store shelf of a field of red tulips juxtapositioned against spring green grass, or the vision of pointy-leafed buxom pink blossoms with fringes on the edges and I buy more bulbs.
“Any day now, I’ll get those planted,” I say to myself. “I’ve got plenty of time.”
“Where are you going to plant those bulbs?” is the question my sister asks as I buy two more packages of tulip bulbs. “You know there’s a whole bunch of tulip and daffodil bulbs in my garage to get planted.”
Oh, woops, I’d forgotten about those! Several years ago, we got the bright idea of planting actual old bed frames in our yard on the main street in Ramona and filling them with flowers. The idea of “flower beds” just tickled our fancy and we started with several hundred tulip bulbs. Do you know how long it takes to plant a hundred tulips? It wouldn’t be so bad if you didn’t have to dig holes that were six inches deep — as, it is, the job is endless in Kansas clay. The whole time we were digging and planting I had to keep the vision of tulips blooming in the spring in front of my eyes or I would have never completed the task at hand. Never!
This year, some errant children, with nothing better to do, thought it was funny to harass those flower beds — so we just took them down. While I was gone for the summer Jess dug up all the tulip bulbs and spread them out in her lean-to shed to dry. That’s where I found them, when I felt I could no longer procrastinate and started digging six-inch holes (or five or four-inch holes, truth be told.) Sensing my determination to finally get all those bulbs planted, my sister came to help.
At the edge of the garden, we were safe to dig holes; once we were into the flower beds, you know how things go — especially if you are an annual bulb planter. If you thought a particular spot was good last year, you’ll most likely dig your shovel in there again and uproot what you’ve already planted.
“These tree roots make digging really difficult,” Jess muttered trying to get holes dug faster and faster as the cold and the wind increased.
“Woah,” I said, “You are digging up the Naked Ladies and those ‘roots’ over there are Iris.” She had no idea. All “roots” looked the same to her.
“How did we come from the same parents and you end up knowing all this, while I don’t have a clue?” she complained.
I assured her that we just had different talents, different things we’d paid attention to, different items to which we are attuned.
“It’s like we come from two different worlds,” she went on, “even though we come from the same family.”
That conversation got me thinking about Thanksgiving and how, in another week or so, all of us will be sitting down to have dinner with family members who may be related to us by birth, but are so very different. We all come from our own little worlds, sometimes finding that we speak a different language, and often joke about how long we can stay in each other’s company without starting WWIII.
Who knows what will get dug up at dinner on another day in the country? It’s up to all of us — especially those of us who are older and wiser — to make sure we spread some love and affirmation around the table. Don’t procrastinate! Today’s the day to show a little extra kindness, sowing seeds of tolerance and graciousness for the future.