Last spring (our first spring in this home) I completely avoided one of the flowerbeds. While it had a wild charm about it, I would look at it and be completely overwhelmed. This bed had several untamed lavender bushes, ground covers that I figured would take years to either take out or get within manageable parameters and, to top it off, was full of rocks. I have nothing against rock beds and this was pretty river rock collected from a local river, but rock gardening isn’t really my style and I knew to be satisfied with the space I would have to remove the rock.
Ian and I agreed this would be my big project this year while John was away for spring break. Day one I went out, picked a corner started a pile of rocks outside the bed. I pulled weeds and unwanted bushes and moved rocks. It took a couple hours but eventually I got a little more than a 2 foot strip the short 5 foot length of the bed. I was tired and kept asking, “Why are there so many rocks?”
The next day was beautiful and I wore shorts and a tee shirt, great weather to continue taking out unwanted plants and moving rocks. I got sunburned, but it felt good (not the burn itself, but the fresh air and sunny weather). Some of the rocks were heavy and some were wedged in the dirt, but the action of working them out and uncovering the beautiful soil underneath was uplifting. Not only was I turning this area around my home, which I had avoided for over a year into a beautiful and inviting place, but also as I removed each rock enjoying the peacefulness of being outside without a toddler, I felt I was taking weights off of myself that had been bogging me down lately.
I was able to let go of self-judgments of how I am doing as a mother and say, “you are doing okay.” I was able to think of things I want to do with John, without being overwhelmed with thoughts of “when will I have time to plan”. I was able to un-bury the heart that wants to give and help so much, but that gets lost in the day to day tasks. I was able to pray on my own and as my own person. I love being a mom and am so thankful for the time I am getting with John, but moving those rocks physically reminded me that I have needs and problems beyond making sure we visit the potty every 20-30 minutes.
On the final day of removing rocks from the bed, it was bitter sweet, the contemplation that picking up and moving each rock provided… whether the thought was about relationships, God, the future, changes, or just thankful for all that I have and the peace provided to me… a release of tension. As a very strict self-critical person, I was able to de-clutter my negativity and change my outlook. While the bed is looking so much better (almost ready to plant new flowers in), now we have to move all those rocks to their next resting place (as predator protection at the base of the chicken coop), but this time I am looking forward to sharing the experience with John and teaching him why it’s important to not take for granted tasks like moving rocks.
What kind of projects have you been putting off? What can you think about or do to make the experience more positive?
Prayers, Auntie Em