Some things happen really quickly. You decide to do a thing and you've done it; irreversibly. You open up to an opportunity disguised as a regular moment, or cause an indent in your life that leaves a scar. Some plants are like this; the seed is barely in the ground when suddenly it's a flower.
In late May, the bachelor's button didn't seem like it'd happen. Strangled as infants by sedge-grass and pigweed, the smallest, slowest seedlings emerged from the ground. I worked around them, pulling weeds to make space, and occupied myself with the rest of the garden, courting surer things. Now these blue bachelors wave in the wind, nearly as tall as me, and topple over under their own weight. There are deadheads to pluck before I even notice blooms. What happened to the moment when they were a foot high? What happened while I wasn't watching / what gave them blooms and millions of buds? I threw the seed two springs ago, and since that time they drop their spent blossoms on the ground, spreading seed; they replenish their own stock. I just make way.
Other things, in gardens and lives, are slow; I watch them creep along, trusting and trying to trust. I decide to continue being interested, to keep checking on things even when progress is unremarkable. The garden as a whole is like this, an experiment with time, a project replete with infinite successes and equal amounts of failures/deaths. It's my fourth year on this land ("land" is an exaggeration, perhaps, when you're talking about less than one-tenth of an acre) and I keep coming to, waking up while working, looking up from the ground in the sudden realization that it's a wholly different place than the scrubby lot I bought in Autumn 2014. For now, at least, it is full--alive and brimming with energy, especially now that we’ve gotten this good drenching rain.
These two descriptions of time and change--the sudden and the slow (aka kairos and chronos, a distinction I am not the first to make)--are fuzzy at best. I'm trying to reckon with something regarding impulsiveness, attention, commitment. This garden has given me an anchoring in time, an understanding of causality that's more than just helpful.
I spent years grappling with a sort of disbelief in time. I thought my actions could always be undone; I thought swift, decided, impulsive effort was best, and I denied the value of this kind of slow loyalty. I looped around and around myself, starting over again and again, until I finally found the weight of time and gathered some respect for it. Part of that was youth and part of it was hubris; another large part was laziness. But I’d also absorbed from our culture some certainty that an action was truer, more fated, if it was swift and romantic and required little effort. It’s taken a long long time to work through that. This is my love letter to the garden for helping with that work.
I feel high on the drug of the solstice, on this brilliant recognition of what consistent effort brings. (It's ironic that the recognition itself is a sudden thing, no?) I feel rewarded by this elastic sunshine; I feel seen by Time, hello Time! I see you! . . . which is really just me seeing me over here, doing her damndest.
* Other, important things occupied the CSA Newsletter this week (practical, flowery things) which is why this little essay found itself here. Reading it was likely an exercise in slow-time commitment, and I thank you for it.