A great way to relieve pressure and cut ourselves a break when we’re trying our hand at something new (be it photography, baking, learning to play the flute or gardening) is to lower our expectations. You wouldn’t expect to be able to paint like Van Gogh on your first try, so letting go of the need to do something perfectly, or even well, when we first begin can lower the need to judge or grade our attempts and allow us to just have fun with it and, most importantly, begin. Since Riley Anna and I had never tried our hand at anything like this before, I decided that rather than get all worked up about planting everything perfectly, we’d simply have a good time with it. If green things began to sprout out from the earth in the next week or so – great, if not – then we’d had some fun digging in the dirt for an afternoon. For our purposes, having something edible or beautiful actually spring to life wasn’t in the criteria for success. So, several days later when the first bright green buds began to pop up out of the dirt, we were delighted and very pleased with ourselves. If something should actually manage to grow all the way to the point of being edible and make it onto our summer table we’ll be beside ourselves with joy! But if not, it’s been thrilling to watch the little buds grow larger with each passing day.
Although I didn’t wear a floppy sunhat (we weren’t outside for more than fifteen minutes tops) or carry a woven basket with me – I did feel a wonderful sense of joy and accomplishment even from the very amateur planting my daughter and I did together. And, is as usually the case, now that I’ve begun, taken a chance and taken that first small step of planting those first small seeds, I’m ready to go a little farther. This weekend – tomato plants!
© 2009 Jill Allison Bryan – all rights reserved