When I first began changing my yard from lawn, rhododendron, and the oddly placed rose bush to a more diverse planting I was scared to put anything in the ground in case I planted it in the wrong place or didn’t like the results of my work. I would set the pot on the soil and envision what it would look like. This is a handy practice but doesn’t always bring the picture I have into focus. Often as not I would review my work only to see a ridiculous row of pansies just like I might have made a row of baby lettuce. I’d change the placement only to find it was now a neat alternating row. Habits run deep.
My good friend Susan, my planting friend and muse, informed me I could move plants even after they were in the ground if I wasn’t satisfied. She said this was a common practice among gardeners. Simple and obvious as this sounds, it hadn’t occurred to me. I didn’t realize I had the freedom to change what I didn’t like. Putting a plant in the ground seemed so permanent. The discovery that I could dig it up and put it elsewhere was liberating – I wasn’t stuck with my first choice or, for that matter, any subsequent choice.
Since then I’ve taken this to heart. I once moved seventy cauliflower and an equal number of broccoli starts when I realized they were not in the best place in the vegetable garden. In the early years with the vegetable garden I always planted the packet of seeds. I know better now. I can change that decision as well. One year I was so late in putting my onion starts in the ground I decided to compost them instead. I just didn’t have the energy for a vegetable garden that year. To let the vegetable garden lie fallow for a year, that was a new idea. I’ve gotten braver in years since. I’ve moved trees after several years of being in a bad spot, changed every plant in a bed when the sun exposure changed, and recently took out many rose plants that I really love. Roses are more work than I want to spend these days. My very latest freedom was taking a vacation at the peak of harvest. I could let someone else eat the fruit of my labors.
This knowledge has spilled over into other areas of my life. I can go back and redo a conversation when it has not turned out the way I wanted. Sometimes in the middle of teaching a yoga class I’ll stop a pose in progress and say, “I’ve changed my mind, do this instead.” My students seem to flow with the decision, no one protests or walks out in disgust.
When I began blogging I noticed I didn’t want to press the ‘publish’ button. My words were going to go public, I couldn’t take them back. I know I’m nervous when my solar plexus tightens. The fear I would sound ridiculous, my grammar would be wrong, or I’d say something too revealing loomed large in my thoughts. I’m not a great speller, what if I missed something so glaring that everyone would know I’m just an amateur and have no business putting my thoughts out for all to read.
I’ve learned that nothing is permanent here as well. The ‘edit’ button works just as well after I’ve published as it did before. So I feel free to go back and fix something, or rework a sentence or a whole idea. I’m grateful my words are in cyberspace and not on a printed page. I know how sorry that can look when I read a novel and find the wrong word used or whole sentences repeated. I wonder, ‘who edited this?’. That’s not my worry. I can dig up my words as I find necessary and plant them anew.
So you may find on rereading a post that it has changed. Nothing is solid, permanent. It’s good to know I can change too. I don’t need to hold onto behaviors that don’t really support me or make my life wonderful. My wish for the new year: to be more authentic and transparent. If I find I’ve fallen short of my intention, I’m willing to dig me up and do me over again. Nothing is permanent.