Something interesting happened yesterday. I didn't even notice at the time. I was busy transplanting pots of double-decker echinacea I grew from seed this year into one of the beds beside the verandah, and when I'd finished with the job, I grabbed a clay pot of little pink annuals and plunked it in the middle of the birdbath, just because it looked nice.
As the afternoon wore on, I found myself coming back to the birdbath. It made me feel happy to look at. It was pretty. I spent all afternoon returning for another look, trying to figure out why it made me so happy. And then I understood: it was the first thing I've done here at Mucky Boots just because it's beautiful.
You can probably guess how hard I've worked since we moved here a year and a half ago. A lot of it, inside the house and outside in the garden, has resulted in things looking better than they did. But all of it has felt like work that needed to be done, to fix things that were broken, or water plants that were dry, or weed beds that were overgrown. It's all been interesting and satisfying, but all of it has been for a purpose. None of it has been just for beauty, just because. There hasn't been the time, or energy, to do things just because.
There's so much that's beautiful here: the bee balm waving above the vegetable garden. The gladiolas that have just begun to flower. The perfect canopy of the Japanese maple by the pond. I am not responsible for putting any of it there - all I've been doing is maintaining it as best as I can. But yesterday, feeling pretty much on top of the garden for the first time since we got here, there was enough space to do something non-essential, just because it was pretty.
It's like the song Bread and Roses. Small art and love and beauty. My heart needs beauty-just-because.