Watching Grass Grow


A side effect of not being constantly engaged in social media is the time to stare into my backyard. It may seem like a misuse of time to you, but I can assure you it is paramount to my overall well-being.

I have three favorite perches in my home: The glass and bamboo patio table right under the ceiling fan on the back porch; the Pier 1 wicker saucer chair we’ve had forever with the charmingly rusted foot stool (now table) beside it, also on the patio; and one corner of my exceptionally comfy sofa. All three of them face the back yard.

Can I tell you about it, again?

This yard will never be in a home and garden magazine, but that doesn’t seem to dissuade the squirrels, doves, cardinals or lizards from visiting frequently. The bees and butterflies are undeterred when the orange tree or flowers start blooming. And what I can only suspect is a citrus rat – (since squirrels are not nocturnal) scurrying up the fence when the light comes on and the dogs go out – seems perfectly at home scavenging for fallen oranges..

I have a rubber tree that has not had the benefit of nature’s hard freeze to help stunt its growth. It’s over 30 feet tall now. A bay tree that seemed to have died, proved us wrong when we cut it down by sprouting 5 baby trees. Now all over 15 feet tall. And many other overgrown, bright green hiding places for various Florida fauna.

There are a few palm trees in the yards behind mine and when it’s windy it sounds like it’s raining.

There are strategically placed wind chimes around the patio and a few naked, out in the weather, that add to the music of the raining palms.

There’s just enough space between the trees and the fence to provide a never ending play of light and shadow when the slightest breeze blows.

Doves often take to the exposed patio for a lover’s promenade.

And ferns play host to untold numbers of winged and multi-legged critters.

There’s a dish with water on the table that sits on the dove’s patio. Throughout the day any number of birds can be found sipping the water or taking a quick bath. Occasionally I’ll catch a squirrel taking a drink. And most recently I’ve spied a few lizards and even a yellow jacket quenching their thirst when it seemed it would never rain again.

But the enchantment doesn’t end with the back of the house. The front yard holds its own charms.

A towering live oak tree that serves as a condominium for no less than three squirrel families. A magnolia tree that blooms on and off all year, it seems, dropping leaves … always.

IMG_7620And Elma. Remember Elma? Our struggling winged elm tree that was transplanted from the back yard to the front? It was dire there for a while. No rain and searing heat took their toll. We were convinced she just wasn’t going to make it. Her leaves turned brown and eventually fell off, her tiniest branches eventually snapped with the gentlest breeze and even some of her sturdier branches yielded to pressure from water. The plan was to toss her into the yard recycling pile, we just didn’t get around to it. Thankfully!

I’m happy to report that the recent rains, lots and lots of watering, some encouraging words and a little petting have proved successful. Elma lives!

There’s a metaphor in there about being transplanted or transformation or rebirth, but I’ll let you create your own story about that.

It’s nearly dusk, it’s time to move to the saucer chair and catch the late show.

21 Day Challenge – Day 18 – Structure Avoidance, Level: Expert

Dove IMG_2046I took a little online test today, that was floating around Facebook to determine if I was more right brained or left. I consider myself a creative person so naturally I assumed right. Right?

Balanced. According to the test I use both sides equally. 44% left, 56% right. I suppose in general this would be seen as good news. Isn’t everyone striving for balance in their lives?

But I don’t think it’s balance with which I am afflicted. Rather some sort of see-saw, push me, pull you condition. Each side jockeying for position. The Left side – we’ll call him Spock – tries so hard to impose structure; write 2 hours every day between 9-11, get up at 5, do yoga at 5:30, etc. The Right side – A cross between Dory from Finding Nemo and Andy Warhol (my apologies to both) says, but what if I’m not inspired? What if there are dragonflies to photograph? Tuesdays and Wednesdays that won’t work for me because I have other commitments for part of that time, so….

Instead of providing support for one another they try to outwit each other. Since the Right side, the creative side, is little stronger I am often known to wander mentally. A lot.

Since I’ve started this post 20 minutes ago, I’ve jumped out to:

1. Get more iced tea

2. Read a few emails

3. Locate photo files on my laptop to respond to an email

4. Check registration online for a program I am promoting

5. Redo the “brain test”

6. Respond to a message on Facebook

7. Create a message on Facebook

8. Open a file in a design program to check a link, and

9. Gazed outside at the curtains billowing in the wind.

Clearly structure is called for. I imagine all the incredible opportunities I could create if only I had the time. And I could have the time if I were better organized, and yes, structured.

There are two doves on the bay tree outside being gently bounced by the wind.

10. Stalked 4 doves for photos.


A friend and I were just discussing how since we’ve left the corporate world of schedules, meetings and structure we are definitely; A. more relaxed and happy, and B. more scattered.

Along with the freedom, there’s a sense of being unmoored, sent adrift to find my way. In so doing I collect many pieces of driftwood to keep me afloat, all with tremendous potential to be something spectacular. When maybe all I really needed was a rope back to shore.

But would I have even grabbed the rope if it was handed to me? Perhaps, but chances are I’d still be scooping up driftwood on my way back.

Without structure or even a loose schedule and some semblance of a to-do list, it is nearly impossible for me to feel that sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. And as much as I wish that wasn’t important to me, I have identified that at some level it is.

As a Monday-Friday corporobot I knew I had evenings and weekends to do whatever I wanted. Whether I made good use of that time or not, didn’t really matter. I showed up for work when they asked me to, performed my assigned tasks to an appropriate level and received a check in return. Simple. Structure.

Now I meander through some days feeling self-satisfied at my awesomeness only to scramble for the next three of four days to catch up. As a self-employed person, every day is a work day. Sunday is usually my most productive.

But here’s the difference: None of it is work. I don’t think I could actually work for money any more. Don’t get me wrong, I will gladly take payment for what I am doing – and, in fact, do – but it is all aligned with my passions. And this allows ideas to run rampant pulling me in many directions. Each idea a potential gem.

The Right Brain imagines all the possibilities with this gem of an idea – taking it all the way to Shark Tank or Ted Talks. Meanwhile the Left Brain, shaking its head, tries to lay out the steps that need to be taken before this Big Idea can even be put on paper. We’re at a standstill. Right Brain gets bored. Left Brain gives up. Next idea. It’s very busy in there.

I know there is a solution to appease both sides of my brain and I feel like I’m getting close to solving it. Maybe it doesn’t have to be solved so much as managed. And so I shall appoint the Left Brain to create a schedule that the Right Brain can work within but still feel magically inventive. Perhaps the Right Brain can even help.

I think I just saw the Left Brain roll its eyes. This may take some more work.

[Photo: You already know.]

If you wanna play along….