Gardening can be a wonderful experience - but you can’t count on it.
This evening as I gardened I appreciatively breathed in the scents of oregano, wormwood, honeysuckle and philadelphus wafting in the damp air. I was aware of clouds of mosquitoes and the rain starting again. I made a mental note of the weeds growing in between the bricks on the paths. I heard the familiar music of cicadas. I only stopped gardening and came inside when it became too dark to see.
Yesterday I decided to liberate the paths that had disappeared underneath the foliage of plants blithely outgrowing their allotted spaces. It was not a blissful gardening session. Instead of focusing on path clearing, I did a bit of weeding, a bit of pruning and a whole lot of stressing.
There is a lot of talk and writing about the health-giving and serenity–inducing powers of gardening. I don’t think gardening can make you calm. If you are already calm gardening can certainly enhance it. It all depends on your mental state. If you’re angry you’ll garden angrily. If you’re stressed like I was yesterday you’ll garden with anxiety.
Tonight I was capable of mindfulness. Just sweeping paths and placing the sweepings in the compost heap made me happy. It was a blissful, calm, meditative gardening session.