Tending to Life


The Gardener

Have I lived enough?

Have I loved enough?

Have I considered Right Action enough, have I come to any conclusion?

Have I experienced happiness with sufficient gratitude?

Have I endured Loneliness with Grace?

I say this, or perhaps I’m just thinking it.

   Actually, I probably think too much.

Then I step out into the garden, where the gardener, who is said to be a simple man,

   is tending his children, the roses.

– Mary Oliver


I’m a big fan of Mary Oliver’s poetry and this is one of my favorites. As a gardener myself (albeit a neglectful one at the moment), I appreciate the use of the gardener’s work to illustrate the tending to life.


As we get older, feeling our own mortality, I think we ask these questions more often.


And I think that’s a good thing. Tending to the present moment expands our sense of life, but it is also important to tend to the prospect of death as well.


I think these questions are a constructive way of doing that. Used as a guide to bring us back to what is important to us when the noise & confusion of life leads us astray.



Table Questions

What questions are you asking of yourself these days?

When feeling caught up in the tasks and appointments of the day, what do you do to bring yourself back to center?

About the photos: All taken in my garden, which is not the tidy showplace it has been in years passed. It is a jungle out there, with weeds that need “relocating”, but somehow I am called to other things at the moment. The garden patiently waits.

Thanks so much for stopping by.


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About Carol

Thank you in advance for respecting my art. All the images and text posted to this blog are owned my me and protected by copyright law. Copying any of the content here without permission is against the law and you know, not cool. Many thanks again.
This entry was posted in Gardening, Inspirational, photography and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Tending to Life

  1. Julia says:

    Thought provoking! Keeping anchored can be a challenge!

  2. Beverly says:

    This is very thought provoking, as Julia said. Not so much asking questions, as I’m trying to focus on important things in life at this stage, and giving my attention to the needs of those around me, both younger and older…being there to support and help make the best decisions. LOVE your top image, and coneflowers, and how your garden weeds need to be “relocated”!! A great post Carol!

  3. A beautiful essay…. I identify with you in that I know I think too much. Guess that’s part of being an introvert.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and beautiful photos. I always look forward to email from you.

  4. Well you know how much I love your garden even with the weeds it must be a wonderful place. I wouldn’t however enjoy the upkeep. Along with upkeep there comes the pleasure I imagine but with my age it doesn’t help with the pleasure. Enjoy your day Carol, love those yellow coneflowers, man I wish I could photograph those.

  5. Ann David says:

    Thank you for the beautiful poem and photos. I love reading when you post.
    I usually stop and read what you have to say because I know it will nurture my soul. I am so grateful that you and your art have crossed my path. Have a wonderful day ann davis💜💜

  6. cheryl says:

    Your garden is beautiful…between two houses, neither of my gardens is a showplace but I still love them..they do center me…
    I’m still trying to find my place, how much to give and how much to keep for myself…(time)…for the most part, I think I’m there…
    Thought provoking post Carol.

  7. Barb says:

    My garden is in the same state, Carol. It looks wonderful from a distance, but up close there are many flaws (something like me). I watched both my parents die, and now my husband’s parents are going through some very tough times. We visited them (in their new space … assisted living) and we came away pretty drained. We tried to make their new home more comfortable and for that they were both so grateful … it made us teary. I’m constantly reminded of how short our time is here on earth … and I’m trying to make the most of what I have, right here right now … and I’m not talking material items.

  8. Diana Foster says:

    Beautiful message, beautiful garden. Always love visiting and reading your thoughts.

  9. Becca says:

    Hi Carol, lovely poetry and post! Always so thought provoking! While 50 might not be a big deal to some, for me, it’s been about change. Geesh…everytime I turn around, something is reminding me that I’ve hit that middle age point of my life. Just finished one of those “preventative tests you should have at 50” yesterday…not so bad, but just another reminder that I’m getting old. Really though…so grateful for my health, and happiness right now. I love seeing photos of your garden, weeds or no weeds…funny how those things continue to show up, even with the lack of rain! Hope you enjoy the weekend…loving these cooler temps! 🙂

  10. DK says:

    What a beautiful peek into your garden!

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