Keeping my eyes open was a challenge all day Saturday. The day after the carnival does that to a person. The week leading up to it demands high energy, late nights, early mornings and hours away from normal routines. Saturday was one of those days when all I wanted to do was lie down and sleep. Sleep had to wait, however, because our two youngest granddaughters came over while the rest of their family cheered on the ASU Sun Devils at the game. I’ll take the granddaughters in the garden any day. Not that I’m a disloyal ASU fan, I’m just a bigger fan of the regular surprises that come from being in the garden with the two girls.
Certain garden events are always predictable. There’s rarely a day without mud in various degrees of coverage. It usually starts in an old cooking pot with mild water usage, then evolves to the sidewalk, legs and arms, and eventually some sort of mud pastry. There are generally cut flowers accompanied by imaginary scenarios ranging from weddings to gifts for loved ones. On Saturday, there was a request for chalk, a frequent garden art medium. It started on the back porch as dry chalk drawings on wet concrete but didn’t stay there for long. Never one to accept the status quo artistically, Grace migrated with chalk basket in hand to check out the recently remodeled pathway along the back wall. She found her new “canvas” in no time. Supporting the terraced earth on the pathway’s edge, were fourteen pavers, seven for her and seven for her sister. I noticed right away that she’d drawn a straight line in chalk between number seven and eight, just to make sure her sister was clear on whose space was whose. Grace set up a chair in front of her space, placed her artist’s tools in a handy spot, and went right to work. In no time at all, she’d already completed several sections. Her concentration was impressive.
Before Grace started working on her chalk paintings, I wandered around the garden, weeded a few beds, transplanted some bulbs with her sister and pulled out dried sunflower stalks left over from the summer. Mostly I just tried to stay awake as thoughts of sleep wrapped around my mind like wild out-of-control vines. Once the artist and her work were a presence in the garden, my energy returned. Inspired by chalky colors appearing on stone, and even more by the passion through which the colors were applied, the excitement of artistic expression took over. It was a moment of grace, remembering how essential this process is for the wellness of my entire being.