So this year my vegetable garden is enormous. Sixty feet of green beans, thirty feet of carrots. Cabbages and tomatoes and corn oh my. Basil for year-round pesto, if I get my way.
In my heart I think I am a raised-bed-square-foot gardener but as of last year we became (spectacularly badly) farmers. With gorgeous, enormous beds-o-weeds. Because chemicals, not so much. (And don't get me started on genetically modified anything. We cannot afford that rant.)
Let's just say that after last year, the expression "hard row to hoe" means a lot to me. I am demoted to the care of my gorgeous raised beds, which I filled with the herbs and tomatoes and peppers after I shoveled on the compost. Mah-self.
Oh and I am also responsible for the two-hundred-square-foot (or so) perennial garden which is packed with heirloom peonies, daylilies, roses and irises and of course weeds. On that front my history is repeating itself to the extent that a neighbor girl stopped and offered to weed it for me.
I think she might've wanted to be paid.
And since my own teenagers and pre-teens are much cheaper labor (they work for popsicles) I thanked her kindly but declined, whereupon she proceeded to join my children on the redneck slip-n-slide they made out of a tarp on the hill behind the house. While I went in to put some more juice and yogurt in the popsicle molds just in time for them to freeze for the end of the sprinkler festival.
So I still have weeds.
Which brings me to the metaphorical point of this post.
When a girl, say someone I know well, takes on too much (dance lesson delivery six days a week for four girls; the care and toilet training of one toddler boy; voice, flute, sewing and piano one per customer per week; equestrian and farm animal insanity daily; academics at the table and on the run; "side jobs" of a onetime, long-neglected, true love: writing and editing; occassional clerical and administrative details of her husband's engineering business) and won't admit it that it is too much, or can't edit it down to manageable levels of crazy, when this happens to the extent that she doesn't even care about massive overuse of the comma, well, then, this girl may have cause to understand the phrase "in the weeds."
Some days I can't see the flowers of my life for the weeds. I'm just sayin'. At those times I know I must sharpen my focus and choose to see only the beauty amongst the chaos. Because the need for a floor-length black gown for a vocal recital shouldn't reduce one to tears. And showing up on the wrong day for a doctor appointment shouldn't cause a panic attack.
So. Focus on the beauty and let the rest recede into blurry background. Easier said than done, you say? And you'd be correct.
I started researching panic disorders and adrenal failure and in general regretted having access to the internet before I remembered that when cleaning out a flowerbed, just as in cleaning out a closet, or a schedule, it is best to start with what you want to keep.
What brings me joy, what can I not do without, what is worthy of my time and the space in my life? These are the questions I have asked myself periodically to regain a sense of margin and peace about our schedules and our lives. NOT "who expects me to continue this" and "what will happen if I don't do that."
Then, after identifying the keepers, the perennials that bloom, attack it with a sharp hoe. And mulch it all around so the weeds can't creep back in too quickly. Don't forget to ask for help if you need it. Don't let it go for so long that the taproots of busy-ness are impossible to dig.
Notes to myself on gardening and life.