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Pacino di Buonaguida: Illuminated manuscript detail of a miniature of a garden or flowery field referring to 'Prato' in Tuscany. (circa 1302-1343)
" … fresh beginnings rather than irreparable ends."

SettlingInto roughly divides into stages which only become distinct later. In the moment, I find myself focusing upon the body of my present effort without very much considering whatever comes next. We created no grand master plan, not even a sketchy one, preferring to follow feelings or intuition or something to produce an emergent garden. God creating Eden was probably no different. This strategy leads to what might have been predictable blockages in the flow, encouraging certain discontinuities which appear as surprises which might delight or frustrate. A few days seem inevitably lost to gear switching, simple confusion, or natural hesitancy. I tend to get lost sometimes, and not just garden variety lost but the second-order kind where I'm not only lost but also lost to the fact that I'm lost. This past week, the tracks have been throwing off a few sparks as if my smooth running train might jump its rails. Soil preparation, the digging portion of the production, essentially done, it came time for planting and I caught myself hesitating, even procrastinating in the face of this fresh phase. We consequently find a backlog of plant purchases piling up beneath the apricot tree awaiting placement and, as usual, this situation seems to be all on me.

I suppose that a skilled therapist might find my hesitancy's root cause.
Plantings have always slowed me. The act of placing Plantings seems so permanent, as if I was deciding each plant's fate. Too much sun or too little could easily do in each one, and I sense a deep responsibility to get each placement right. It seems that an awful lot will be riding on each decision, so I cannot seem to take this responsibility lightly. I consequently have a history of purchased seedlings dying on me while I natter through details that might not really matter as much as they seem to matter in those moments. The Muse plops in a flat of seedlings in a few short minutes while I catch myself reconsidering placement again and then again again. I'm better suited for remembering to water the result until its settled into its place than I've ever been at deciding just where to place each particular plant. I make grand plans in my head before losing them in a kind of pre-emptive dread. Dead plants result.

Mine might be a common human trait. We seem more interested in relationships until the subject of marriage emerges. Then, many hesitate. This reaction might relate to the perceived permanence of the proposed situation. Something about anticipating continuing sameness scares us off. We'd rather maintain latitude to change even if we never intend to change. Even if we're delighted with the arrangement, proposing permanence slows us down. We seem to prefer degrees of freedom we'd never cash in over settling down and in. This suspicion might be behind my Plantings phobia. Maybe I just prefer to keep open my options, though in the longer run that notion just seems self-defeating. Emergence seems a permanent condition however much we imagine any state a defining resolution. The Muse reminds me that we can always transplant something we've poorly positioned.

I write this piece to talk myself into acting, to signify the end of one of those initially indistinct stages, to goad myself into taking this leap. Whether I'm regressing or progressing, the future will tell. Hesitating's no resolution for anything. I won't be bold, of course, for boldness has never been my nature, but I might muster a half-assed acquiescence for long enough to get this siphon started. After the proposal's accepted, Happily Ever After might kick in. Before, it's never more than a minute to minute existence. I could try to turn that blank rose garden fence into a line of hollyhocks. If that doesn't work, I'll at least have learned what didn't work. I've divorced twice, each a painful but necessary transplant. My roots reconnected hesitantly. I wilted a bit at first. I struggled to adapt to new angles of sunlight and different soil, but still I seemed to have eventually thrived. I might extend this understanding toward each of my pending Plantings, fresh beginnings rather than irreparable ends. SettlingInto's not for sissies.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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