Sometimes, when I look back on the photos I take in my garden, I can hardly believe how much transpires within a single growing season. In the springtime I can see the pathways between beds and most of my plants are just a few inches tall. Everything is exposed. By the end of the growing cycle the garden is a wild, unruly beast. The pathways are devoured by foliage and there is no exposed soil left. How and when did that happen?
“So the days float through my eyes, but still the days seem the same.” -from Changes by David Bowie
It’s amazing when you think about it. Our gardens begin as one thing, and stealthily, silently they transform into something entirely different in just a few months only to start over and transform again, and again and again. Some years, I lose perspective. While I am in the midst of it all, I forget what has transpired. I don’t appreciate the work I have done, and focus instead on what I haven’t done. Sometimes, while knee-deep in the late-season struggle to keep things neat and tidy, I start to take the amazing growth around me for granted — it becomes something to rail against rather than something miraculous to behold.
I want you to appreciate the work you do in your garden. I want you to walk away at the end of the season with a sense of satisfaction regardless of how it went, and a focus on what you have accomplished, rather than on what you haven’t. One way to achieve this is to document and record change. For this reason, we will practice this exercise a few times throughout the growing season, beginning with our gardens as they are now. It will be fun to see how they progress and perhaps even see how our attitudes change with the seasons.
Grow Write Guild Prompt #3: Describe your garden right now.
Stand in one spot in your garden and describe what you see in front of you. Turn to your right. Describe what you see there. What’s behind you? Your left side? What is underneath your feet? What do you see above your head?
Further Questions & Notes:
- If your garden is small, you might consider writing about all of it or decide to focus on just one area. If your garden is large, consider focussing a small, manageable area or just one bed. If you’re feeling ambitious, feel free to write about everything that you can see as far as your eyesight will take it.
- If you are unable to stand in your garden or your garden is some distance away, you can try imagining it in your mind’s eye instead. It might be interesting to see the difference between how you imagine it versus how it actually is.
- Stand in place and take digital photos of all directions. You can then use these images as points of reference when you are indoors writing at your desk, or wherever it is that you prefer to write.
- Another option would be to write point form notes on paper, or make sound/video recordings of what you see using the video function on a camera or cellphone.
- Consider this as more than just an exercise in descriptive writing. Include your feelings about what you see. What do you like? What would you like to change?
- Why not include other senses in your description. What do you hear? What do you feel? Is there a breeze or wind? Is it raining?