Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Not so long ago I thought it would be a good idea to become an actor. I was working for a nursery at the time and the low pay and drudgery just wasn’t what I had hoped for in my life. My Botany degree lied uselessly behind me, my art work reduced to a weekend hobby. So why not venture into a whole new direction?
Like acting.
So I enrolled in classes, and even got some walk on parts in local productions. But when the applause died I still needed to make a living.
So back to gardening I ran.
One thing I did learn, or at least began to learn from my time as an actor was letting go. Letting go is to the actor what patience is to the gardener. If your jaw is clenched, if your soul is as tight as a fist you will never be able to emote large enough to fill a theater, or specifically enough to fill the silver screen. There are many exercises designed to help you let go. One in particular , which I was terrible at, was a blind-folded backward fall. A group of you class mates stood behind you open-armed ready to catch you. Now it takes a lot of inherent trust to be successful at this. And I probably learned more about how distrusting I was than about letting go. But it certainly got me thinking.
And thinking I was today as I walked through he garden watching Fall take its toll. I took a breath and tried to quiet the parts of my mind that wanted to stake things up or deadhead. Plants should stop flowering by the 1st week of November, I said to myself. Although they rarely do here. Plants should start their slow decent towards the earth. There is nothing really to do to aid this process. But I whisk away the failing these days so that none of my clients need be bothered by the unsightliness of decline.
Out at the farm there is no need to clean up. No clients to please. Actually living in a flood plain requires that you don’t clean up. Any debrie covering the soil saves the soil from being washed away when the river gets high. So no matter how ugly it gets around here I have to let go. This is almost harder than letting a group of open-armed acting students catch you in a backward blind-folded fall.
Yet I am learning to love the junco flocks plucking seeds from wads that were once flowers. I am beginning to see beauty in the nearly black foliage as slimmy as a slug draped across the garden. I am developing an aesthetic based on the criss-cross patterns of stems as they listlessly begin to bow.
But most importantly, I’m beginning to like the sensation of slowly falling.