If Something is Not Eating Your Plants, Then Your Garden is Not Part of the Ecosystem
Welcome to September, friends. All those planets that have been retrograde have returned direct and this sticky scorcher of a summer is getting ready to fade out. As I hoped, the summer away gave me some time to percolate some thoughts, and replenish my brain, which had kind of started to feel like a dry well. Sometimes, it feels like every time I look up I notice something that feels important; other times, things get a little bland, and that's when I know I need a break. Thank you for being patient with me.
I had a few ideas for this first letter back, but then today I saw the twitter post I quoted both above and in the subject line of this e-mail. In context, it was literally about gardens, and ecosystems, and biology, but as soon as I saw it I knew there were going to be some tendrils reaching out.
One of the greatest challenges of new motherhood for me has been the fact that, before Rowan, I spent the vast majority of the last seven years mostly alone, able to spend the day however I chose, whether that was a burst of activity or a long stretch of reading. Obviously with a baby that has changed drastically, and now I'm very nearly never, ever alone. It was hard, and at first I found myself really struggling every day. Then, finally, I recognized: my daughter's desire for my companionship is not a problem to solve. If I'm overwhelmed, or tired, or frustrated, those are things that need solutions, but her desire for my time isn't a problem by itself. Right now, we are in a season of our lives where I mostly give and she mostly consumes, and that's normal and right. But she also buzzes around, scattering little bits of life around my feet to help me thrive, and for now, I have other people to help make sure I'm keeping myself watered. This give and take is how our family does and ought to operate. We live in the same ecosystem, feeding and being fed in our turns.
I've also been musing on the phrase in a larger context, in contrast to the old "if you're not angry, you're not paying attention" adage that I've tried to fight back against before. I maintain that it's important to not make anger the only reasonable response to awfulness, and that the only truly incorrect response is indifference. "If you're not angry, you aren't paying attention" is a really rough way to deal with the world. But maybe, if you're not a little tired sometimes, not a little stressed, not a little sad, then you're probably missing something. Sometimes, you feel awful because things are out of balance, but other times, you might be feeling a little off because the world needs a little extra from you. Try to be honest with yourself about whether you have it to spare. Experiencing the world fully, with each other, means there will be tension, there will be drain, there will be days that are hard and painful. There will be days of giving and days of receiving. Tend your garden well, keep yourself watered and replanted, and be ready to give a little of it to keep the world alive.
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