Outside the Box

by cindy


A Little Dirt is Good for the Soul


Occasionally I find myself signing on to do things I normally would avoid. Things like teaching (which requires speaking in front of people) or exercising (which requires sweating), both examples of stuff I don’t particularly like to do. It’s good for me to shake things up a bit. And I generally feel great once the commitment is complete except for exercising which usually leaves me in pain. For those of you who feel that pain is good, you know, that “No Pain-No Gain” school of thought? Just keep those opinions to yourselves. Thank you.

So, where was I? Oh yes, shaking things up.

Over the weekend I found myself in a Kusamono workshop. What is Kusamono? Well, it is a Japanese art form related to Bonsai. Instead of miniature trees, however, the Kusamono artist works with tiny plants. Which means, I was working with living, breathing tiny plants. And dirt. Willingly.

You must understand that in my home, gardening of any variety falls under the purview of Dear Dave. He’s the Gardener, the Bonsai Artist, the Seed Planter, the Weeder, the Composter, the Plant Whisperer. He loves it. I love that he loves it. It keeps him outside and I can stay inside. Inside, away from worms. Humidity. Bugs. And dirt. It’s not that I’m prissy; I have no problem with getting messy. I love it when my hands are covered with those telltale, colorful signs of painting. But I can paint inside, without worms. Humidity. Bugs. And, yes, without dirt.

The workshop, however, was delightful. See? I am positively gleeful as I ponder the plants I’ve selected. Also, not just a little daunted. Terrified is the word I need to use…

Kusamono Beginning

After some many fits and starts, I ended up with these three arrangements…

Kusamono View 1

Kusamono View 2

And these hands, after scrubbing…

Kusamono Hands

And a grin from ear to ear!

I mean, look at this adorable little bud on the appropriately named Goldfish Plant!

Goldfish Bud

The bud came with the plant. It may well be the only bud we ever see.

Nevertheless, every morning, I skip downstairs to check on my sweet little pretties. I gently tap the soil and spritz them with water if they seem thirsty. And I circle around, chatting softly while I carefully observe each group, noting any changes that may have occurred overnight. Changes like, uh, this one:

Wither 1

What’s that, you ask?

Mmm. Sadly that’s a withered fern leaf. Oh yes. The first sign that maybe—just maybe—I should stick with painting.

No surprise there.

I’ll keep you posted on just how successful this adventure becomes.

And if, by some mighty miracle, things go well, who knows? Christmas is only some 23 weeks away!