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Report From PIA – August 10

One of James Taylor’s songs begins with this seemingly simple statement: “The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.” It’s an important choice of words because it’s not about coping with the passage of time, or even using time well, but taking pleasure in the way time goes by.

Today this song was running through my mind for a couple of reasons. First of all, it’s August 10th. August 10th! Just yesterday I was wondering where July went to, and now the middle of August is only five days away.

“Wait, wait, wait,” I want to say. I might be sick of hot, dry weather, but I don’t really want summer itself to evaporate while I’m in a snit about sweat and hoses.

Secondly, I took some time this afternoon to visit Bill Cannon’s garden in Brewster; his property is a haven for holly. It was delightful to be in a garden where someone is totally cultivating a passion, in this case the genus Ilex. This visit resonates with Taylor’s song in that someone who is this excited about a plant that he propagates, and breeds/grows hundreds of them, is enjoying the passage of time in that only time moving forward shows how these holly will develop and grow.

I’ve been meaning to visit Bill’s garden for several years. It has been one of those, “Someday I have to go see…” things, and a few days ago I decided that I needed to make that sometime visit now. How can we fully enjoy the passage of time if we keep pushing pleasurable things off into the future?

Gardeners are very tuned into time: It’s the right season for planting/harvesting/clearing the garden, or There has been no significant rainfall for four months, or Like everything else in the garden, the Clethera ‘September Beauty’ is blooming a full three weeks early.

But by noticing, using or sometimes fighting the passage of time, are we gardeners enjoying it any more than everyone else?

I don’t have the answer, but I bumble along trying to make a conscious decision to slow my body and mind, and be (as much as possible) in the moment, enjoying the passage of time.

A glance at my wild “field” shows the passage of time through these plants. The black stems and seedpods from the Lupine that bloomed in June, along with the Rudbeckia that are flowering now, blend with other plants that all have their moment to flourish and bloom.

Bill's hollies grow chock-a-block in his yard, but being a plant lover first, with the interest in Ilex coming in at a close second, he's growing many types of plants.

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