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Long Island Sound
Gardening Is Its Own Reward
The Understated Joys of Yard Work
Most people around Long Island look at their grass as just another chore, complaining about keeping their yard in presentable condition. It makes sense, as landscaping can sometimes seem like an unending task. For me, though, cultivating a beautiful outdoor space in the fresh air is a source of great contentment.
at the top of the plant. If you neglect the bushes for too long, nature takes over. Perseverance and dedication are the keys. Really, working in the yard is a form of therapy for me. My neighbors laugh as they see me hand-trimming the hedges, but to me, the whole enterprise is completely relaxing. Being out in nature and getting your hands in the dirt relieves tension. It allows you to focus on the task at hand, free of any distraction except maybe the feeling of the sunshine on your back, the intermixing smells of various flowers, and the crunch and crackle of your work. In a lot of ways, it is similar to nurturing anything or anyone important to you — or running and audiology practice. If you are going to do something, you might as well do it right. Taking care of the people who sustain you requires holistic effort. If you invest the time, the care, your heart, and soul, you are likely to end up pleasantly surprised — like I am whenever I see those red and yellow day lilies popping out of their buds on a sunny afternoon.
When it comes to managing the whims of nature, there are always struggles that come along, but I find that the work I put in reaps endless rewards as the months go by. As with most endeavors, the more effort you put in, the more benefits you will receive. When I check each item off the long list of summer chores, I make sure to take a long look at the work I have done. It is almost like a burden off my shoulders. Not that an unkempt lawn is necessarily a source of anxiety, but rather the feeling of a job well-done — and being able to see the very tangible results — grants a sense of clarity. Gardening is a temporal art, as well. I have a bunch of day lilies planted in the front yard, a really attractive flower, but a fickle one. Each flower lasts only a single day, and then the next day, a new set of blooms appear. When you are coming home each day to that sight, it forces you to stop and appreciate those vibrant bursts that are here today, gone tomorrow. To me it is a reminder to appreciate the present rather than focusing too much on the past or the future. A garden requires consistency. You have to regularly mow the lawn just right: trimmed down, but not so short that it hinders the photosynthetic leaves
Dr. Larry in the garden planting hyacinth. (In the background to the left are day lilies yet to bloom.)
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