Copyright © Louis Schmier and Atwood Publishing.

Date: Wed, 15 May 2002 06:46:32 -0400 (EDT)
Random Thought: And Still Another Lesson From My Garden

If I am not careful, every day I work in the garden--and I work there everyday--can seem so ordinary that I don't care. I pull a puff of invading grass, dead-head the spent roses and coreopses before seed pods develop, prune the Texas poppies, stake a leaning a gladilus stalk, cut the deflowered amaryllis stalks, pick the spent daylilly flower, transplant a galardia or echinecea seedling, nurture a Wandering Jew cutting, spread around the coffee grounds (natural slow-acting nitrogen-producing fertilizer), turn the compose heap, soak the chewing tobacco (nicotine is a natural insect repellant), trim, thin, shape, snip, and on and on it goes. Yep, it all can seem so ordinary, monotonous, routine if I am careless enough not to be careful not to care. There is, however, nothing tiresome about the picky stuff. There is nothing ordinary about when I ordinarily move about the garden. Every moment is one of those "it needs to be done" important choice. Every moment is one of those "don't give me any excuses" moment. Every moment is one of those "it serves a purpose" moment. Every moment is one of those "don't take the easy way out" moment. Every moment is a "pay attention and see and listen to the details" moment. Every moment is a "do a little bit more and better than you did yesterday" moment. Every moment is an "opportunity of a lifetime" moment. Every moment is a "dig in and make it happen" moment. Every moment is one of those "it makes a difference" moment. Every moment is one of those "laying the groundwork" moment. Every moment is a "put in the effort to make it happen moment." Gardening is not composed of putting off "someday" moments.

A moment is not a very long time. Yet everything that I have ever been accomplished in my garden, has been done in a string of moments in a string of days, one after the other. The nature of the garden is that I can't do it all at once. The nature of gardening is to be both in every moment and beyond it. And so, every "little bit" day counts. Little is huge, and small is a lot. Every day is extraordinary. Every day is important. Every day is a consequence. Every day is a cause. Every day is an action. Every day is a result. Every day is powerful. Sometimes it's hard for me to see the connection. Nevertheless, it's there. It's inevitability is there. Without this linkage there are no possibilities, no dreams, no opportunities, no choices, no accomplishment. That makes everyday important and great. That makes sure every day is a critical link. That makes sure no day is routine or monotonous. That makes sure every day is large and impressive. And that makes sure I am enthusiastic everyday about each day.

Every day in my garden is made of small, barely noticeable, but essential accomplishments. If I am successful in my gardening, it is the result of consistently assembling one successful, positively directed, focused moment after another. A beautiful garden is not a vague and distant concept. It is a clear and specific everyday affair. Without daily little things, there's nothing to add up to make the big things. So, there are no little things. It is nothing more than small successes which have been sustained over a long enough period. It is created in the small moments, which one by one add up to big results.

Premier and fast are not synonyms. There are not in cooking; they are not in gardening; they are not in teaching. Like my garden, teaching is an everyday affair. You can't be hooked on fast effort. There is no deep, dark, hidden secret to success teaching any more or less than there is to successful gardening. It's clear and easy to see. Success comes from doing what needs to be done, not what you want to do; success comes from doing when it needs to be done, not when it is convenient to you. If I want to be a good gardener or a good teaching, doing the least or just enough is not enough. There's no short cut no matter what some self-proclaimed, motivational guru may say or write. A blooming garden isn't the result of platitudes and good intentions. It comes from days and moments lived with the sincere and committed effort to just keep digging and making it happen.

         Make it a good day.


         Louis Schmier      
         Department of History
         Valdosta State University
         Valdosta, GA  31698                 /~\        /\ /\
         912-333-5947              /^\      /     \    /  /~\  \   /~\__/\
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                        -_~    /  "If you want to climb mountains,   \ /^\
                         _ _ /      don't practice on mole hills" -    \____

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