Out in the yard this evening, I was up to my elbows in my new hobby; literally.

First of all, there’s this: I have a hobby. Referencing again Oliver Burkeman’s Time Management for Mortals, It seems the concept of ‘having hobbies’ might be a good way to counteract the incessant demands on our attention. Granted, my hobby has been aided and abetted and inspired by information found on social media – I am not sure I’d have been so inspired by a book. But in every effort to live in the present, to delight in what’s around me, and to enjoy the natural world, I’ve taken up a hobby.

Actually, I prefer to think that I found found a way to project my maternal instincts (which are strong) to the living organisms of the kingdom Plantae.

I’m a Plant Mom.

It started during COVID, which is – I guess – going to be the marker from this point forward (everything will either be, ‘pre-COVID’, ‘during COVID,’ ‘after COVID,’ or ‘I don’t remember that because COVID.’)

Anyways, DURING COVID I started baking, which was fun, but I kind of went where I wanted to go with that and then hit pause. Then came plants. I started bringing home the occasional cute little thing from Trader Joe’s. Friends gave me some of their plant babies. David brought home a fiddle leaf fig from the trash bin at Target.

I started reading about plants and watching videos about plants and then I helped my youngest son divide an ancient, well-established Monstera that he’d inherited, and then I took it to the Great Big Greenhouse where they re-potted it (for free) and divided it FURTHER and told me a whole lot that I didn’t know, and then I was hooked.

Now, I have to fight the urge to buy a plant every time I go ANYWHERE. I have already decided that all I want for Christmas is plant stuff. I am trying to decide whether or not to make my own potting mix, or trust the organic stuff I spent $13 on last week. I’m thinking about going hydroponic. I’m wondering if Tony will build be a greenhouse.

Everybody (I treat them like people; they are my babies) came inside for the winter, and this evening I went through them all and did a little re-potting (because I’m learning as I go; some of these guys weren’t thriving because they had TOO MUCH room to grow – did you know that was a thing? That you shouldn’t put a plant in a big pot because they don’t like that? I didn’t!)

Anyways, tonight I gently, carefully, and conversationally gave almost everybody a new home. I divvied up some little succulents that I had propagated and made five tiny little pots to give to the neighbor kids. I welcomed (with a new pot!) the newest arrival – a little ZZ plant I picked up at IKEA last week.

I could go on and on, but you’d be bored stiff. Suffice it to say that digging in the dirt, working my hands around the roots, carefully moving stems, and talking to these living organisms brings me a deep contentment, a sense of place and purpose. It grounds me in the quiet moments that are free from work, from email, from sorting through the noise.

I worked out on the front porch, dirt piled up, plastic containers strewn around. Plants would be repotted, given a gentle soaking, and then moved to the bricks to drip dry. I talked all the time, whispers of encouragement and appreciation, and I guess that’s crazy, right? I’m moving into the final quarter of my life and I talk to plants.


I turned to toss some old potting soil in the bushes and looked up into the back yard. At that precise moment, the sun broke through the grey, overcast coolness of early November and lit up one of the tallest maple trees looming at the edge of the woods.


It was, in a word, glorious.

I gasped in awe – literally; I am that person, too, gasping in awe aloud at the light on the trees.

I walked closer, standing underneath a tall pine, the greens and browns scraping against the illumination, the maples glowing. I was conscious of the importance of just being there, observing.

Be still. Know.

It was just so beautiful; I was overwhelmed. I know we’ve all been there. What’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen? Remember how you felt in that moment? It was that feeling, right there in my backyard, and the gratitude just spilled out of me.

Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you

I am that person, grateful for the beauty of the golden hour, in the simple extravagance of my backyard. I am that person, talking to houseplants and grateful for their existence.

And after almost six decades of working and striving and yearning, I can safely say that I’ve learned to be content; with being that person, and with finding beauty in the most common places. With being a little weird.

I’m okay with that.

Some days it’s harder than others, but there are times – like this evening – when it pours out like a gift of grace.

I receive it as such.

And now, for some pictures of my plants. ๐Ÿ™‚ Just because.


3 thoughts on “Light

  1. Yay, you are a Yardener! ๐Ÿ’š ๐ŸŒฟ
    Tip: Pile up ‘old dirt’ to add leaves, coffee grounds, cow manure, kitchen left-overs, etc. And stir occasionally to make yearly mulch.
    Meat and woody things are not invited to the party though. ๐Ÿ˜‰


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