“Scenery is fine, but human nature is finer.”
Never once have I bought into the Romanticism philosophy, nor have I ever really took any time to research into it and see what it’s all about. I’m not saying I’ve never wrote a love poem before, however, they’ve all been sort of cheesy – you know, the rhyming type that Dr. Suess would probably do a better job at doing by adding a green egg or meat product. Romanticism isn’t my thing, however, this morning I feel a sort of draw towards that sort of carnal romance. The romance of living, as opposed to the suffering of living. There isn’t really an option, you know, between living and not living, so it just makes sense to make the most of it and fall madly in love with it.
It was brought to my attention yesterday, unbeknownst to me, that moving all the way across country is a big feat to conquer. I haven’t really thought about it, I just sort of did it, which is the way I’ve been rolling my entire life. The problem with that is that I just roll, I never really carve a track for my ball of life to roll down. I survive, yes. I keep myself fed and a roof over my head, yes. Is it where I want to be?
No, but yes.
Physically, this might be the most beautiful place, to me, on the planet. Of course, emphasis is based on the fact that to me it’s the most beautiful place in the world. Human nature craves different things, and in nature you’re going to find a more suitable climate for your being. There’s a reason that people gravitate towards the equator, and there’s also a reason people gravitate towards the Pacific Northwest. For me, I’ve found that since the first time I saw this part of the country while rolling in Morris, there was some sort of magical, ethereal, fairy tale like ambiance about it. Perhaps it was the fact there was a green sheen of moss on everything that made it look like a Disney movie. It could have been the fact that there were nurseries brim full of unique cultivars of plants on every street corner. There was also that cool pioneer vibe that you get, the sort that you only feel in newly explored areas.
Maybe not recent history, but the Oregon Trail is sort of a big deal…
“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
My enthusiasm gets me in trouble on a daily basis. There’s a tingly feeling that I get when I brush my teeth for more than the recommended electric toothbrush timer designates as a suitable time frame for cleansing my teeth every morning. I get really excited when I vacuum the same spot three times trying to get every nasty bit of crap out of the carpet of my new apartment (that doesn’t look like it has seen new carpet in decades, but that’s okay). I especially get a feeling of accomplishment when I take the time to manicure every leaf on my patio garden to achieve this magazine ready terrace of horticultural wonderland.
The problem with enthusiasm is that you can get wrapped up in your passion, lust, and task and lose sight of the small things. I can focus all of my efforts on making sure I brush my teeth longer than the toothbrush manufacturers standards, however, it does no good unless there is actually some toothpaste on the damn brush. Of course, it’s better than not brushing at all, but it’s just not the same. That time wasted doing extra brushing could have been spent flossing, however, I chose not to because flossing makes me gag. This coming from the over decade suffering bulimic, go figure, I don’t like to gag. Also, if you were to couple in some simple practices like not eating food that sticks to my teeth all day (gummy bears, guilty) and avoiding acidic drinks (guilty also on many fronts), my teeth would be in good condition. Do I do those things? No. Do I think I’ll change? No. Am I going to keep brushing longer than the allotted time? Yes, because I’m enthusiastic about brushing.
Same thing about the vacuuming aspect. Little known N. Weed fact, she loves to vacuum because it’s sort of like mowing grass but inside. Odd, I’m aware, but when I can’t actually mow grass I need to channel the need to make neat rows on the ground someplace else. I suppose it was one of my first real jobs, cutting grass for a living, that instilled the fact that the ground/floor should have neat parallel lines to create a pleasing aesthetic. Inside or out, it doesn’t matter. My mom would have “carpet lines” in our house every day when I’d get home from school, it was a comforting thing. I liked to have alternating lines in my fescue when I had a big yard on a golf course. Now I focus on perfecting the art of making vacuum lines on my old, stained carpet. Does it make the carpet look any less ragged? No. Does it make me feel better? Yes. I could spend the time that it takes me to go over the same spot three times and rent a carpet shampooer, however, I chose not to because I’m too enthusiastic about my vacuuming to see the bigger issue – the carpet is just old.
Let’s talk about that plant thing. Not to bleed into the previous analogy of the grass – plants and grass are two different things in my book. Plants bring a different kind of joy, grass is just, well, carpet outside. (I don’t care if it’s sod that is void of weeds or a weedy patch of Bermuda, if it’s outside and in mass, it’s just grass) My little balcony overlooking the warehouse district of Wood Village, the railroad tracks, the interstate, and the Arco is like my little slice of heaven. I’ve crammed that little 4′ x 12′ area with so many plants in random containers it looks like I’m an eccentric old lady that collects cats – but has a cat allergy so collects plants instead. I have plants that only I would like, ones that others would think weeds if they were growing in their own yard, but I like. I have a different relationship with plants, and I push the boundaries a bit sometimes. Just ask my dad, I left him with 42 African Violets to care for back in South Carolina when I skipped town.
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm”
My enthusiasm got me to South Carolina, only because I was chasing love – or avoiding conflict. I had a new love interest in the South and one that was dwindling in the north. My enthusiasm got me into a ghetto college chasing the dreams of someone else, but also made me realize how much I’d miss plants if I didn’t work with them on a daily basis. It’s different if you sit in front of a computer looking at lists of pharmaceuticals every day or sit in front of a computer and look at lists of plants every day. I get melancholy thinking of cancer drugs, I get excited thinking about the newest variety of threadleaf Coreposis that a customer wants. That’s enthusiasm, that’s what drove me here.
I don’t feel like I’ve failed because I’ve always had enthusiasm, that’s something that isn’t handed out lightly. For the failures that walk the planet, or at least the perceived failures, chances are that they didn’t really “fail” they just put their ambition and enthusiasm in the wrong direction. There have been headlines here about people protesting and rioting in Portland in which it became out of control. Yes, they’re enthusiastic, but on the wrong topics. I parallel that mentality with my pilgrimage cross country. These protesters turned rioters were passionate about a cause and took it to the n’th degree. I, too, was passionate about things, perhaps it was my detachment of a profession with actual plants (as opposed to a big box store where plants aren’t really plants and are expected to just be thrown away), perhaps it was my enthusiasm of being different, perhaps it was the fact that I was ready to ween myself off all that was familiar and make a grand voyage west like those that took the Oregon Trail did.
(side note: for some reason the Oregon Trail was really glorified when I was in Elementary school, it was almost like that proposed that everyone that went to Oregon went to the big rock candy mountain. It actually instilled thoughts into more than one of us…)
“You scream to the conductor
But he’s been deaf for twenty years
Hear the other people laughin’
As he grinds through every gear”
Widespread Panic (Climb to Safety, a personal favorite)
You’re your own conductor, grab the balls of your enthusiasm and chase what is important. At the same time be cautious, you can get caught in a gully of false ambition! You might be at Taco Bell and realize that Taco Time is really where it’s at. You may be at Lowe’s, but you realize that Home Depot has what you need. Chasing your needs is much greater than the wants. I wanted green spaces and trees. I wanted to be surrounded by plants – tons of plants – on a daily basis. My enthusiasm about that led me here. I finally get to play with plants without actually physically moving plants from point A to B physically – which is what I’ve done for over a decade and a half. I get to do it remotely. Plants move, I tell them where to go, it’s sheer bliss.
In all actuality it’s a dream job. I move plants, I don’t have to touch them. I don’t have to take them off a truck, put them on a table, load them into someones car, talk to them about when they kill it. It’s a dream, for someone enthusiastic about plants. I wouldn’t have found it had I not been enthusiastic, passionate, confident, secure about what I love. It takes a moment of self realization to make changes in life. Sure, I went through all the courses to work in a pharmacy, but I actually took the time to realize it wasn’t for me. My enthusiasm for that never existed.
At the same time, paying attention to the smaller parts of the world pays dividends in the long run. The carpet aspect, yes, it’s a pain in the ass. The tooth brushing bit, yes, I have to get over getting gagged by an object in my mouth other than a toothbrush or finger (my own). The carpet, well, I don’t own this joint. I scoot money over to someone else that has taken over for someone else It’s her lease, not mine, therefore it’s her carpet, not mine. The plants, well, I forget what’s supposed to be yellow and what’s just saturated in water.
Here’s the thing…enthusiasm is amazing. Some people lack the courage the push the limits of what society think is acceptable, but there are pioneers such as I that say screw it. They taught us about the Oregon Trail dauntlessly elementary school, they wanted us to go.