Garden Glee

Dr. Sue & Cherry Blossoms

Dr. Sue & Cherry Blossoms

“April’s come – my heart finds ease…
And blossoms with the cherry trees” – Dr. Sue

Weather is springtime perfection  – and no school! Time to get off my computer and into a garden.  What better escape for a New York city girl than the Bronx Botanical Gardens?  AMC, my hiking club, is sponsoring a garden walk.  I call Sam (the leader) and hustle my bustle (aka move my a**) toward the subway and the Bronx.

Happiness with no “if” (challenge) – right? Wrong!  I’m a little late (still working on my time management) – but if I make all my train and bus connections…oh no!  At the subway station, I spot a six firefighters.  Is the subway on fire? Are the trains running?  I hesitate for minute, dash down  the stairs… and miss my train! G-rrr!  Now you know why New Yorkers are in a rush.  Miss a train – wait 10 minutes!

There I am on the subway platform, worried, annoyed, and generally cranky.  Finally, a crowded express train shows up. I find a seat (small miracle) and look up to see a subway poster with a poem:

“Life is a train of moods like a string of beads; as we pass through them, they prove to be many-colored lenses which paint the world their own hue, and each shows only what lie in its focus.” (“Experience” by Ralph Waldo Emerson)

It’s a message I need,  But how do I change my mood – harder than changing trains or stringing beads?

As long as I’m stuck on the subway for a long,  and maybe futile ride, I start correcting student exams.  I’m still worried about time, but getting work done makes the ride seem less futile – and less annoying.  Finally, I get to my stop in the Bronx.  There’s my bus – across a busy street – so near and yet so likely to pull away before I can cross the street!  The light changes –  I rush toward the bus…and there is leader Sam, waiting in line!  All my worry and annoyance for nothing!  We meet our walking group at the main entrance and go inside.

Ah….the garden is exquisite: frothy cherry trees, puffs of peonies, troops of tulips…well, enough petaled prose!

Bill, one of the guys I meet on the walk,  comments on how nice it is to walk with friends.  I agree. I fall into conversation with Belina, an avid gardener. Belina has what’s called a green thumb. I have, well what I have is a lazy thumb. My approach to gardening is Manhattan minimalist, so I’m raising my plants to be independent.  Someday, I’d like my plants to have their own careers – bring in some cash.  It’s a fair trade-off.  I’m doing all the watering – plus paying rent – and utilities. What do they think? Money grows on trees? (Hmm. Maybe plants do think that.  I mean, from a plant’s point of view, where else would it grow?)

We take a bathroom break at a building where they are giving out tickets to a free event next month.  There are no tickets left, but I notice that Bill has a bunch of tickets in his hand.  I say, “You have five.” Bill says that he needs them for his family, but I can Email for tickets.  I realize that the event is geared for children, so it’s probably not for me . I also realize that what Bill meant by “walk with friends” is “find temporary activity partners.”

Our garden stroll ends near a plant shop with a 75% off sale.  I want to buy an orchid for $7,  but Sam doesn’t want to wait  while I shop, and I don’t know how to find my way out of the garden alone.   I drop the subject and follow him out.  It strikes me that this is one of the trade-offs of being single – you don’t get to nag someone into hanging around while you do something they don’t want to do – and you don’t have to hang around for them.  Fair enough.

On the other hand, in a close friendship/partnership/marriage, enduring some inconvenience for the sake of intimacy is a trade-off worth making.  One of the criteria for close, ongoing companionship is willingness to prioritize relationship over convenience.

We find our way out of the garden, make our connections easily, and soon we’re on the subway home.  Sam shares his New York Times and we read comfortably together – something we both want to do.  He gets off at his stop, and I even have time to dash into my college to reserve the videos I need for next day’s class (something I felt guilty about not doing before I left to play hooky in the garden).

Research says that talking to flowers helps them grow, so I am posing this question to the flowers by my computer (and you):

How does all this help us be happy?

Happiness Habits:

  • Connect to nature, be in a beautiful environment – like a garden.
  • Let go of worry and guilt. Many things we worry about don’t happen (and if they do, worrying does not prevent them).  Guilt is also a waste – we can’t change the past (even if it’s only a few hours ago.)
  • Time management is great – but give up on being perfect at that – or anything.
  • Even if you think you’re too late and missed your connection or opportunity – keep on going – things may work out.
  • Single or Married/ Close or Casual Friend/Human or Plant – each state has its trade-offs – so enjoy the state you’re in.
  • Talk to plants – they might be listening. After all, flowers have two lips (tulips), but corn has thousands of ears!

“No matter what the music, learn how to dance!”
Hugs 2 U Dr. Sue
Dr. Susan Horowitz (aka Dr. Sue) is a Motivational Speaker, Media Host, Singer-Songwriter “CD: Dr. Sue “Keys of Love” , Author of “Queens of Comedy” (Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Ellen DeGeneres etc.) “Read with Me” (Children’s Book of the Month Club), “I Am Loved” (Inspirational Poetry) “Blog: HOW TO BE HAPPY IF”
copyright 2010 Dr. Susan Horowitz (aka Dr. Sue)


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