I was reminded today how much the garden really does grow without my tinkering and checking and watering and pruning. I think I hover too much when I'm here, because as soon as I leave town for a few days, I return and it's as if the plants had a party in my absence, growing like crazy, thriving without me around to pester them.
I left town on a Tuesday morning and returned Thursday. While I was gone, the garden phlox bloomed, tomatoes turned red in bunches, and the winter squash began its garden takeover.
Really it seems like they grew more in two days with me away, than in two days with me present. Hmmm... what does that say about my gardening? Should I be more neglectful? Is there a good way to be a neglectful gardener? Or writer? Or parent?
As for writing, it's kind of a fine balance for me. I can't go away for long periods of time, because not only does my writing really suffer, but I feel like a discombobulated mess when I return, and I become an incredibly cranky person. But, when I'm struggling with an essay, or with a difficult revision, or the end of a chapter, sometimes it helps me to walk away from it for a day or two and do something completely different, like work in the garden. Often when I do this, and let my mind wander about other things, something clicks way back there in my writer brain and I can return with a fresh take on my writing. It's literally refreshing.
Obviously I can't just leave Lily alone for a few days to fend for herself, but I do try to let her explore. I try not to hover and prune too much. Playing in the garden has been fabulous for that. I get to see her touch soft green leaves, pluck chive blossoms off, search for more strawberries and snap peas, clean rocks off in her mouth, learn words like "nee nee", and my favorite so far, plunk herself down on the grass in front of the blooming oregano and watch the "bums" (bumble bees) with patient curiosity.
Of course one could say I'll use any excuse I can to get out and play in the garden.