The "So What?" Lesson

Book Discussion

I could learn a lot from Dominique Browning about gardening. The parts in Slow Love where she talked about her gardens and her approach to gardening were some of my favorites. Perhaps because when it comes to gardening I am a big chicken. Yes, I am scared of my flower beds.

We had a vegetable garden until I was about eight or ten. I don't remember remember what kind of preparations went into it. I remember thinking the rototiller was fun. I hated weeding but I loved to sneak into the garden and steal carrots. We didn't plant a lot of flowers. There were a few pansies and sweet peas. I think we had hollyhocks at one point. Most of our gardening was done for food.

When my husband and I moved into our house last year we inherited a few overgrown flower beds. I've done nothing with them. I can't tell you what's in them. Mostly. I know we get a few tulips in the spring and some daisies and lilies in the summer. I don't know what the other stuff is but I know it is overgrown. I should thin it but I really don't know what I'm doing. I know there are proper ways to do things. I know there are times when it's probably better to do it than others. But I don't know when. I'm totally clueless.

red shoes garden

Image Credit: Jesse Millan

I've looked at a few gardening sites. I had some gardening blogs in my feedreader. I grabbed a few books from the library. There just seem to be so many rules to gardening that I don't remember existing when I was a kid. I suspect I just blissfully ignored them and concentrated on stealing the carrots. It seems that there are simply many ways to do things wrong.

I need a bit of Dominique's attitude.

Over the years, though, I've learned not to worry so much about what will or won't make it: I'm learning the "So what?" lesson. So what if it fails? That doesn't mean it was a mistake. So what if it ends? That doesn't mean it should never have begun. I've seen, too, how things thrive in the most unlikely places. Sun-loving plants sometimes establishing themselves in deep shade. They just take on the attenuated, melancholic inclination of those creatures of the gloaming." p. 232

I know I just need to take the bull by the horns and thin the darned plants. So what if I end up killing something in the flower beds? It's not like I know what it is. I didn't choose it. It's just simply there. I need to plant more tulips. So what if they don't grow or the squirrels steal them? It's about sitting in the sun and playing in the dirt.

The "So What?" lesson is one that I really need to apply to my garden but I could also apply it and pick out a shade of paint for my bedroom. So what if I don't like it when it's on the walls? Paint is relatively cheap. Ditto the curtains and all the other minor cosmetic changes we are thinking about making to the house. If it doesn't work I'm not stuck with the changes and it's not the end of the world.

Where can you apply the "So What?" lesson in your life? What is it that you won't start because you are worried it might not work?

BlogHer Book Club Host Karen Ballum also blogs at Sassymonkey and Sassymonkey Reads.

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