A lot has changed in my life in the past couple of years.

Some things have been happy, like letting go of twenty extra pounds and lots of books I knew I wasn’t going to read again, finding a system that works (for me) to keep my desk consistently neat, and falling in love with my husband all over again.

Some… not so happy.

One of my sisters passed away early in the COVID19 pandemic. That was tragic enough on its own. The addiction she lost her battle with added another wrinkle to the sadness.

Two aunts passed away. One of them was my father’s only sister,

An uncle missed living to see his 100th birthday by just a couple of months.

Joel’s baby brother beat the statistical odds for many years. (He was born with a serious heart defect.) But a little more than a year ago, his poor heart just stopped beating.

One of my surviving sisters was diagnosed with breast cancer.

And I lost Lily.

I’ve watched my parents slow down at an accelerated pace these last couple of years. I vacillate between wanting to cherish every moment I have left with them and dreading the news which is sure to come at some point.

My younger son has been out of the nest for five years now. But last year, our older son moved out on his own, too. And for three months, following a cross-country move, my mother-in-law moved in while she searched for a new nest to call her own.

It’s been more – and faster – than I could keep up with.

The past couple of years have left me with a lot of questions.

Specific to this site: Do I even want to spend time in the garden? I don’t like biting insects. I’m afraid of ticks. I wilt in heat and humidity.

And even a garden designed for low maintenance needs some maintenance. Should I end the friction over my penchant for neglecting it and just pick a fraction of the garden and let my husband take over the rest (read: turn it into lawn)?

In the new landscape of my life, I’m not sure that what happens with my garden is a top priority for me. On the other hand, I ache to think of abandoning it entirely.

Ultimately, I decided to use this year as a kind of test ground. To start with, I made grooming the garden (basically clipping back all of last year’s plant stalks and doing some initial weeding) a project for April.

Here’s what I wrote about this in the project planning template I use:

Even though this feels a bit overwhelming to get started on, I know it’s going to feel great when it’s done. Plus, it’ll remove that vague, in-the-background, but nevertheless heavy feeling I get every time I drive in the driveway or go outside. This is another one of those things that’s a constant, low-level stressor. (It’s shame, really. After a couple of years of NO maintenance, I feel bad about the way things look, but at the same time, some part of me doesn’t want to tackle doing anything about the way they look.)

Maybe when this is done, it might lay part of a foundation for working more collaboratively in the yard with Joel. That possibility is worth putting some work in for.

When this project is wildly successful, the old stems from last year will have been clipped back and disposed of by the end of April. Any hawthorn or quince root suckers will have been pruned and any mugwort I find will have been treated with herbicide.

I decided to start on the section that I can see when I’m sitting at my desk and to work for 15-30 minutes at a time any day it isn’t raining. To make the work more palatable, I’ve been listening to podcasts as I go.

Some days are easier than others to get myself out there, but it is getting done.

Of course, once it is, then there’s a summer of weeding to consider. After a couple years of neglect, there are some invasives I need to deal with…and boy, they just don’t quit.

But I’m hoping that getting into action in small, consistent doses will make the job feel manageable.

If not, I’ll have to make some tough decisions.

And now on to changes here on the website…

I originally intended it to be for visitors. I wrote with that in mind. I was always trying to anticipate questions or objections or challenges readers might be facing. Why? Truth is, I was afraid of being judged.

And that fear tired me out and sucked a lot of the joy out of creating.

Know what? Life’s too short for that.

Visitors are welcome. (If you’re reading this, hi! 😊) But I hereby claim the blog for myself and for fun and for growth, even when it looks messy. Maybe especially when it looks messy.

I want to:

  • Look back and identify patterns I can’t see yet
  • Write what pleases me. Without apology.
  • Follow the natural ebb and flow of creativity. No forcing. No schedules. Not here.

That’s where I stand.