Many years ago a friend passed on a beautiful lesson. When going on adventure, and things don’t go as expected, don’t look to it as a failure, but as a ‘cultural event’. It was an opportunity to experience something you weren’t expecting, and what was the positive take-away message.
School starts in 9 days. Nine days left of summer. In looking back over the holiday, I am certain of one thing. I hope to never have another one like it. I don’t know if I’d survive it as it ranks among the top of the all-time worst seasons of my life thus far. I’m still trying to figure out the take away message.
The last year I was in college, Charles, having worked for an NPR station for many years as a DJ, applied for and was offered the position of music director with a little station in North Western Washington. Since we were located in South Eastern Washington, this amazing opportunity had to be accepted, even though it meant that we would be apart for days, if not weeks at a time. Were we to do this in today’s modern age it would not be so difficult as there is the Internet, Skye, instant messaging or other ways to communicate. We had the phone, and a good portion of Charles’s salary was spent on long distance charges. That experience taught me that marriage takes work, but love will see you through, and that no matter how big how overwhelmingly difficult a dream seems to be it needs to be explored.
The summer I worked as a greenhouse manager in Northwestern Washington was physically the hardest and spiritually the most challenging as I was responsible for the maintenance and delivery of over 6-1/2 acres of plant materials on a twenty six acre farm that was not even the slightest bit automated or modernized. I and one other person hand watered, spaced and dumped hundreds of thousands of plants over a 4 month period. All while the owner of the company made it a point to ‘knock me off my pedestal’ after learning that I’d just earned a degree in Horticulture.
That adventure taught me that motivation comes from within, that others can only dampen your spirit if you let them. I also learned the beauty comes in very small moments like the early mornings when classical music floated through the air of my largest greenhouse, humming birds swept from basket to basket of blooming tendrils and the sun broke over the crest of the skyline casting an orangery red glow into the darkness of night.
And this summer, oh this summer. It ranks among the others mentioned. I’ve laughed, cried, questioned, doubted and plodded on. Through my class, through my grief, through frustrations of hard and emotional work completed with no recognition. All while being a wife and mother and trying to maintain some semblance of order at home.
Now I am tired. I need some hammock time with a good book and a glass of iced tea. Then maybe I can see the lesson’s that I’ve learned.