in search of awe
I have become a woman possessed with this little patio garden that I’m creating. One of the things that our new house has that our old house didn’t is a covered patio area — which is great, because I really didn’t like our old patio. See, being that we’re in Houston, it meant our old patio was damned near unusable for 9 months of the year, since it was so hot that not even a fan could provide any relief.
But now that we have a covered patio, I’m really excited to use it, as evidenced by the ridiculous amount of effort I’ve put into decorating it. I decided that I want tons of container plants because, of course, they’re pretty; but also (a) we live near a busy road, and I figure anything that can help clean the air on our patio is a good thing, and (b) I understand that there are several plants (rosemary, mint, lemon balm? Apparently?) that ostensibly repel mosquitos, which is really important if we’re actually planning on sitting outside in Houston.
One problem: I am a NEOPHYTE when it comes to growing green things.
Still, I’ve been trying. I suspect that I may end up spending far too much money on replacing plants that have met their demise, but we’ll see. I’ve planted tomatoes and beans and rosemary and succulents, and I’ve been babying plants that were gifted to us when we moved into the house, and even a few we managed to save from our old house before we tore it down. So far, so good.
Every day, I go outside, and marvel that so many of these plants are still alive. I’m especially in awe of the tomato plants: how is it possible that a tiny seed, seemingly completely inert, mixes with water and light and suddenly springs to actual life, turning into a plant that will (hopefully) eventually bear something we eat? I mean, that’s magic, right?
Related: this week my friend, poet Amy Turn Sharp (that’s her real name, how cool is that), shared a link on her Facebook feed about why the feeling of awe is good for our health. Apparently, frequently experiencing awe can help boost our immunity. It also helps us see that we are a small part of something bigger than us.
This resonates with me, man. Honestly, it’s the reason that once I picked up my very first camera 25 years ago, I was hooked: my camera helps me to slow down and look for beauty, and beauty is always awe-inspiring to me.
Awe feels hopeful.
Awe feels redemptive.
Anyway, that article is a good read. It also shares other ways to inspire awe within yourself, including going out in nature (which might be why I’m having so much fun puttering around on my little patio garden); surprisingly, the things they suggest aren’t huge, like you might think they’d have to be in order to feel awe. Things like listening to a beautiful piece of music. Or looking at gorgeous art.
I figure these days, we can all use a little more awe.
So go out there and make it happen, friends.
Soundtrack: True colors as performed by Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake