This summer we put a pond in our fenced-in vegetable and flower garden. It is a simple pond (we "planted" a cast-iron tub into the ground), but it has been my favorite feature of the garden this year.
To stock the pond with plants, we visited Windy Oak Aquatics in Eagle. (If you live in southeastern Wisconsin, it's worth the trip in warmer months just to see their lotus and water lilies in bloom; I could have gawked at them all day, they were so stunning).
We bought a hardy water lily — I can't remember the variety — but it has these beautiful variegated leaves and blooms in this ethereal pale yellow-lavender. (It's called a hardy lily because you can bring it inside, give it some water and put in a dark spot (like your basement) and it will overwinter.)
The blooms last for only three days, but they are breathtaking.
I think about the kind of effort writers, artists and anyone who is looking to birth a dream puts in. There is a lot of work underneath the surface that has to happen for our vision to become a reality.
All creative endeavors involve efforts and explorations that many do not see. There are the false starts. The chapters that end up in the recycling bin. The near-finished painting that must be put aside for the new theme to emerge. There are the lonely moments when self-doubt creeps in and taps us on the shoulder and whispers: "Who are you to think you can be a writer…an artist…a person who achieves their dreams?"
Sometimes birthing a creative project means many months in a dark winter, as we wait for our spring sun to shine again. Sometimes it means being patient through a fallow period, trusting new growth will soon sprout. And sometimes our long and diligent efforts result in a bloom that is brief, but so worth the effort for the experience of sharing our fullest expression with the world.
In the past, I would get caught up in the product — and forget about the richness that comes from being in the process. (I've mentioned how being with the process is a growing edge for me.)
But I am finally getting that the process — and the striving and the learning and growing that comes of it — is as important as what I create.
And there's a wonderful side benefit to our striving:
We become a stand and a support for others to strive toward honoring their dreams. In our striving, we inspire others to strive toward their dreams, too.
And I see this in my water lily, too. As the lily has kept growing and expanding, it has become a place of support for our resident frog.
Tell me, what is the value in striving for you?