Patience, patience

glass mosaic Mt Rainier

Mt Rainier at Paradise

Over many years of gardening I have learned numerous life lessons. Chief among these many lessons is patience. It is to me the most difficult one to learn and practice.

As a professional gardener I’ve been frequently asked for instant results: blooms, plant size, recovery from insect or disease damage. It is then I launch into a mini-lecture on patience. “As gardeners we must learn patience…” something along those lines.

And while espousing this ideal, the struggle to practice it plagues me too.  I want the tree to grow faster, leaf out sooner, produce fruit this year instead of next, provide screening from that house next door immediately. Plants stubbornly resist our impatient needs. They move in their own time, and if we wait, they will reward us.

So it goes with artistic pursuits as well. I will eagerly start a new project, and at some point become irritated by the slow pace of progression. I want to reach the end point sooner than later. I want to find my skills in a new medium, with new tools or materials, right now. I hope to complete a large body of work yesterday.

I must have chosen “slow” media for a reason: first I practiced pen and ink pointillism, and now glass mosaic. Gaining confidence in each medium, my instinct is toward more intricate work: in ink I moved toward ever-smaller pen nibs; in glass it’s smalti that has captured my imagination with the tesserae getting smaller by the day.

But the garden is a good teacher, and my blueberries are finally producing more than a handful after four years in the ground. There were almost a dozen Asian pears on the backyard fencerow last fall, in their third year. And in my studio, a landscape made entirely of smalti glass was finally completed this week, so it’s time to start another.

If only I were a little more patient.