Tending to Your Garden

full moon, Kauai, morning moonI wake up to a still darkened sky, illuminated by the moon as clouds shift through and around her.

The alarm doesn’t need to wake me. Instead, the sound of the surf and a tiny click click click alerts me to the fact that I want to be awake now.

Time to tend to my garden.

I quickly dress, splash warm water on my face, drink a tall glass of water, and wander to the deck that overlooks the wide green lawn in front of me and the ocean beyond. I don’t focus on the midnight blue waves rolling in and out, nor on the way the surf becomes jade green as the sun slowly rises in the East. clouds, ocean, Hawaii, Kauai, sunrise

Instead, I search for the click click click. Ah, there he is. Mr. Lee, on the lawn, snipping off tiny branches almost invisible to the eye, particularly to my eyes up here on the third floor deck. But the elderly man, hunched over permanently, bends down time after time to pick up errant palm leaves and small twigs that succumbed to the night’s tropical breezes.

Kauai, gardening in Hawaii, Hawaiian flowersHe’s tending to his garden.

Mr. Lee is the head gardener of this small resort we call “home” for a short while. My guy and I escape the New England cold by traveling here annually to warm our bones. Each year, we herald the beauty of the landscaping, thanks to Mr. Lee’s long-time care. The staff claim he’s “been here forever” and has won many awards for his landscaping prowess.

Without even asking the octogenarian, I know that the awards mean nothing to him.

Tending to the garden is his love. His passion. Part of his “being.” Hawaii, Kauai, flowers, gardening

I breathe in the ocean air and move over to my writing pad and pen. My back hunches over as my fingers fling out words, pulling out the twigs that are useless, cleaning up the grammar, smiling when a particular phrase smells as sweet as a flower.

May we all tend to our garden, whatever it may be, as lovingly and persistently as Mr. Lee.

hibiscus, Hawaii, Hawaiian flower, pink

How do you tend to YOUR garden?

128 thoughts on “Tending to Your Garden

  1. I love Octogenarians…I are one!
    A lovely tribute to Mr. Lee, and this set of words grabs me: “My back hunches over as my fingers fling out words, pulling out the twigs that are useless, cleaning up the grammar, smiling when a particular phrase smells as sweet as a flower.”
    Write on, dear Pamela. Your heart is where all hearts should want to be. ♥

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  2. I look forward to being able to make my contribution to ours after 2 years knee surgery. A couple of days ago I wheeled a bag of horse manure the length of the garden and dropped it into a compost bin. Not much, I know, but a start. I plan to do two bags today 🙂

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  3. You did a wonderful tending to your garden,Pam. The comparison of Mr Lee tending his garden with passion, bent back from years of work
    and you bending your back over your writing. Weeding out written garden until you find the sweet smelling flower. Beautiful work.

    I would like to do some of both jobs. 😊.

    miriam

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a great post to read first thing in the morning. Sets an uplifting tone for my day. As for answering your question: now that I reflect on it I think of my blog as my garden, so when I work on it, writing & commenting, I’m tending it. And lately, my goodness, how the flowers are growing. 🌺

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  5. A lovely post, Pam. “May we all tend to our garden, whatever it may be, as lovingly and persistently as Mr. Lee.” Indeed.
    This made me listen to “Make Our Gardens Grow” from Candide. Do you know it? It gives me goosebumps. 🙂
    It sounds like a wonderful vacation retreat!

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  6. Pam, the serenity of your break flows through your words straight into my heart and soul!😀 I feel the complete peace within Mr Lee as he works with such love and tenderness around the grounds, tranquillity which flowed up to you, your writing and thankfully to us here! I love your analogy of you tending your creative writing garden … I fear mine is similar to the one outside, slightly neglected this winter, in need of TLC and attention. As Spring arrives I feel both will flourish! Wishing you and your husband a wonderful holiday in the sun, coming home warmed and re-energized! hugs xx ❤️

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    • Watching Mr. Lee tend to his garden is very Zen-like. And I guess that if someone watched us as we wrote, forgetting about time as we fill the pages with words, it would look rather Zen-like also, Annika. Here’s to both of us tending to our creative gardens. XOXO 🌺 🌸 🖊

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  7. A lovely analogy. Your image penetrated my mind and I was there on the deck watching Mr. Lee. I am editing another’s words and I will think of it as tending a garden as Mr. Lee is doing.

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    • The full moon this month was so glorious! And I rarely get to see it shine on the ocean like I was able to. Seeing nature in her tropical glory makes me appreciate it that much more. 💚 Mahalo for your kind comments.

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  8. People, like Mr. Lee, whose passion is their calling don’t need awards to certify their work. Great point, Pam!

    As always, your word garden blooms from cool to warm, dark to light, monochrome to glorious fuchsia. Right now it’s too cool in Florida to tend to my garden. Still, I have fresh garnet azaleas in a vase in the dining room and peachy hibiscus blooms ready to burst forth after the cold snap.

    Have a fabulous vacay with your guy. Maybe crocuses in Boston will greet you. Daffodils?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I definitely equate Mr. Lee’s work with those of writers like you and me and so many of our blogging friends. We don’t expect awards. We maybe don’t even except a lot of sales. But it doesn’t matter because we have written our hearts out. ❤️
      We won’t see a crocus for another month or so. Maybe two months! But like you, I fill the house with fresh flowers to give me hope. XO

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  9. This certainly is a calming post to read today! I think all of us would love to know your getaway! I love Mr. Lee’s passion and the grace in which he moves, a reflection of your writing..

    I know longer have a garden, except on my balcony during the summer.

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    • I think balcony gardens are fabulous. My guy and I grow our vegetables on our back deck because it gets the most sun. Too hot to sit out there but the tomatoes and basil love it! I hope your balcony is full of glorious flowers come spring and summer, Pat.

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  10. I love this way of thinking about our writing, Pam. It really is like tending a garden, plucking out the weeds and the runners and vines that ramble on and on. I’m sure your latest WIP will end up like the Garden of Eden. Hmm…. Will it have any forbidden fruit in it?

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  11. I love gardening, Pam. I love to dig my fingers in the dirt to pull the weed. Most of the time I don’t wear glove, even though it’s not a good practice. Spring is coming, I just pruned the rose bushes but still have to fertilize them. I have three more days of major work for pruning the remaining roses. fruit trees to prepare for spring. One plum tree started budding so I must fertilize it quickly. We didn’t get too much rain this winter so I soak the tree to endure juicy fruits when harvested.
    Stay warm, and thank you for the share, Pam.

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    • I am turning green with envy at your pruning and garden work. We will not be able to do that until mid May at the earliest. You are such a diligent gardener that I know you will have delicious fruit and flowers before you know it. 🌹

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      • The garden is my sanctuary, Pam. It delights my soul and benefits me more than the work I put in it, especially some plants surprise me by multiply themselves. Then I transplant the young plants to another spots. I’m happy that it’s raining today. I hope I’ll have fruitful trees and pretty flowers. 💐🤗

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  12. That sounds like the most pleasant way to awaken each morning. My grandparents used to live in Chicago and would hightail it to Florida during the winter to escape the harsh winters.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Many of our friends now “hightail” it to FL in the winter. But then they miss the snow! And cold! And those bright frigid nights! I like enjoying Paradise for a small little space of time in February, and then just keep it in my dreams until the trees again bloom in NE in May. 🙂 Enjoy your CA sunshine!

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  13. Perfect analogy, Pam. Since I’ve retired, I’m afraid that my wake-up time isn’t very early. I had always thought of myself as an early riser, but I guess it was just a habit from having to get to work 5 days a week. Anyway, I know that I miss so much by getting up well after the sun rises. I think this may be a habit I should readjust. Enjoy the warmth!

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    • The classes I teach don’t start until mid-morning (10) and some in the afternoon and evening. Still. I wake up at 5:15 a.m. because I get SO MUCH done – writing, meditating, walking and thinking, from 5:30 to 9:30 a.m. – it’s amazing! (Of course, don’t ask me what time I go to bed at night!). 🙂 To enjoying your day, whenever it starts. xo

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    • There are so many “Mr. Lees” in the world who are ignored and discounted, and yet they are the “salt of the Earth,” so to speak. The Earth-keepers. The reminders that labor and tenacity coupled with passion make a difference in the world. ❤

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  14. Beautiful! I particularly love your concluding stanza.

    Mr. Lee reminds me of two sets of gardeners in my past. When I was at Seattle University, our head gardener and his staff were all Japanese. In the sixties, Japanese gardens weren’t well known. Ordinary American gardens tended to be dull. So we loved our Japanese gardeners.

    Another memory: For two years, my husband and I lived on the fifteenth floor of an apartment building in Manila. The best part of our view was a large garden below that belonged to a sprawling house that had somehow escaped the building boom. Every day I looked down on the garden and watched the three gardeners raking, clipping and sweeping.

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  15. Beautiful and you have brought the two together perfectly. I think each day that I want to get out and clean up the gardens but I know once out there, I forget everything else including making dinner or other chores. Only darkness drives me inside then. Mr. Lee does what he does for the love of it. We all understand. Thanks. Enjoy the warm.

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    • Isn’t that a telling sign that once you begin working in your garden – and for many of us once we begin to write – the hours melt-away and we forget where we are until night Falls. A perfect example of living your passion. 🌸🥰

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  16. I love the way you describe your surroundings as I was instantly transported.

    Tending to and especially creating as something I happen to be passionate about and I have done this twice.. both in Nicaragua and then again in Sri Lanka. Taking an area that is plain dirt and transforming into a lush oasis has given me hours of hard work, but also tremendous satisfaction and pleasure in both cases. Fortunately both of those gardens were in tropical climates where everything grows very quickly, which is such an enormous and amazing benefit. It does mean though that one does not have the beauty of seasons changing and with that, the celebration of Spring. But hey, can’t have it all. Lovely post. Enjoy the warm tropical weather and the lovely surroundings.

    Peta

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    • Gardening in tropical climes is a dream. I’m always impressed with my New England gardening friends who begin tiny little sprouts in their basements with special lighting in January and February. And then transport those sprouts turned to small plants into their gardens in late May. In early to mid May everyone in the northeast is ready to turn their garden and begin planting. We tried that once around May 20 and snow fell on May 22. We learned our lesson – wait until memorial day weekend!

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  17. I am home again and miss the beautiful gardens of the Islands. This post touches my heart. What a wonderful world it would be if we could live out our passion. My husband is like Mr. Lee , he keeps our tiny garden beautiful.

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  18. You are definitely in one of the most fabulous places to “regenerate.” What a lovely way to shed some accumulated winter dreariness. I am quite literal in taking on your question, and I spend a lot of time, like Mr. Lee, tending my gardens. It really is therapy, both physical and emotional. Enjoy whatever time you have left in your beautiful Kauai sanctuary, Pam. It is truly glorious!

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  19. Pam, your post reminded me of something I posted ten years ago. Oh, my, time does fly. “I
    leave you with the words of Diane Setterfield, the British crime writer and New York Times #1 bestseller :
    “All my life and all my experience, the events that have befallen me, the people I have known, all my memories, my dreams, fantasies, everything I have ever read, all of that has been chucked onto a compost heap, where over time it has rotted down to a dark, rich, organic mulch. The process of cellular breakdown makes it unrecognizable. Other people call it imagination. I think of it as a compost heap. Every so often I take an idea, plant it in the compost, and wait. It feeds on the black stuff that is a life, takes its energy for its own. It germinates. Takes root. Produces shoots. And so on and so forth, until one fine day I have a story, or a novel.”

    For those who wish and have the time and inclination you can read my post at:
    https://carolbalawyder.com/2010/07/19/step-into-my-garden/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your 2010 “gardening” post is beautiful and adds so much to what I say in a few words here. Like minds think alike! Thanks for sharing the Diane Setterfield quote here too – it’s brilliant. May we continue to compost for years to come. ❤

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  20. That was lovely, Pam. I can see Mr. Lee, but cannot hear him, very possibly talking to his charges in the garden. For me, one way I tend to my garden – my spirit – is by journaling faithfully every day. It restores me, prepares me, and absorbs all that ails or excites me. How can writing ever fail to do that? Cheers.

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  21. Hi Pam, I also appreciate the early morning and the usually calm, quiet awakening of the world around me. I knew you were away and yet something compelled me to check your blogging site tonight, the first one I opened up on my laptop. It may have been a subtle click, click, click that had escaped me.

    Wow, can we all find a garden we love to tend. A passion. Beautiful words. Thank you!

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    • So glad you checked out my blog site. I usually try to blog once a Friday, but I’m coming out of my blogging break slowly. A fast fiction piece this coming Friday to get me back on schedule. YES, to a passion that keeps us tending our gardens. ❤

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  22. Happy to hear you’re able to get away to warm weather! We just got back from Puerto Rico (first time ever visiting) and I was blissfully reminded that a disruption to our creative routine does NOT have to mean we can’t create at all! I worried that I’d fall behind in book-planning, but no. Rather, I was blessed with new, fresh ideas I probably wouldn’t have had if I’d dutifully stayed at home, at my desk. 🙂

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    • That’s fabulous, Kate. This afternoon the temps went up to 63 (!) so I took a walk and suddenly came up with a fun creative writing exercise for my Friday writing group. Viola. Do you know the works of Brenda Ueland? One of the first people who taught and wrote about the value of creative writing and of ‘letting go’ when we write (she wrote her book WHEN YOU WANT TO WRITE in 1938!). Anyway, she insists that the best way to come up with creative ideas is to walk. I agree. That, and take a trip to a warm island. 🙂

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  23. So enjoyed reading this Pam, I am at last catching up with you,
    Gardeners come in all varieties, be it plants or words… Love your photos and hope you enjoyed that warm sun that soaked into your bones..
    We had some sun today ourselves, but it was not so warm… But welcome all the same from all the rain and floods.. 🙂

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