When I was in ninth grade we took one of those personality/interest tests to try and help us determine a future profession choice. For mine, it was a hands down result. I was supposed to be a Forest Ranger. So, all through school I wanted to be a Forest Ranger- not to put out fires or get into law enforcement, but to be in the woods. I love nature, I love plants and trees.
When I went to Michigan State (the only real choice for someone with those interests) I modified the Forest Ranger calling because I was not keen on the fact that there really aren’t any forests around here and I didn’t want to move away. So I went into the field of Horticulture and after many years working in local nurseries and drawing landscape plans I made the move to starting my own business. With the birth of our daughter Emmaclare we saw that after working and paying daycare for two children I would be left with about eight dollars at the end of the day. Not going to get too many groceries with that!
For the last twenty years I have had my own business, doing landscape design and landscape appraisal work, but it wasn’t until just after my mother’s death in 2011 that I experienced an absolute boon in my appraisal work. Like manna from heaven, and I completely credit my mother, as I can see her up there, right in Jesus’s face, asking for these tremendous blessings for me and my family. So the last couple of years I have been busy, doing timber valuations and landscape plant appraisals in properties along pipelines and power lines across Michigan and Indiana. There is nothing better than spending the day walking in the woods, counting trees, the silence and peace is wonderful. It also requires a lot of energy- walking first across acres of rutted, muddy farm fields in my tall, clunky boots to get to the “back forty” stand of trees takes it out of a body.
I have a kindred spirit in my friend Janie, we went to college together and I worked in her family nursery and then did most of their design work when I went off on my own. I met my husband while we both worked in an earlier nursery, so he also has an interest in and knowledge of plants, although he has gone on to become a software engineer. If I get going too long on the subject of how beautiful each and every tree is along the road, however- I kinda loose him; no one is as dug into my plant crazy world as my friend Janie. We never get tired of talking about the trees we spot when out joy riding, or the endless ornamental shrubs, and flowers, and vegetables. It never gets old for us.
(My front gardens)
(My front gardens)
Now, as our children are older, we can go off to different plant conferences or landscape design tours and completely live the dream, thinking nothing of practically clapping when we see some exceptionally pretty bloom. Today we spent the day at a plant conference with three different speakers who spoke on tropical plants, non-wimpy plant choices, and trees and shrubs. It was like dunking the soul into healing waters- hearing about and envisioning the coming spring and summer filled with green growing things. Ahhh.
But I had to snap out of my foggy state when I got home at about five-thirty because I still had six miles to run! I went right to it, as it would be harder the more I moved into evening and food to motivate. I did the Boston hill work again and that went a bit better than last week but had just a little left hip action going- the result of sitting all day in a chair. I didn’t feel like it was an issue though, which is really good.
I have been DVR-ing recent episodes of Downton Abbey to watch in these longer runs. That ongoing drama sure helps in distracting the mind from the “in your face enjoyment” my body is going through for almost an hour.
I always read my four reasons while I am running now, to center myself each time and recommit to the thing that is even more of interest to me than hydrangea cultivars. I am so grateful for this one more time, this chance to run once again. I am grateful too for the drive, the determination to do this thing, which certainly comes from somewhere other than me! It makes me think of my mother and how that woman would never quit, would never relent, no matter if she just had enough chemo injected in her to make her glow from outer space, she strapped that cross on and trudged forward.
I am so truly blessed to be molded from that strong stuff, and I am filled with such a joy that I can once again offer everything to Him. Four hills, four reasons to run- I offer thanksgiving to the Sacred Heart as I take on that first Newton Hill. With the second I make amends for all the outrages committed against Him in the Blessed Sacrament! With the third hill I offer all that is in me to adore Him! And Heartbreak Hill I offer up for those I love…