Yesterday and today I've been gathering leaves to press. It's an investment for next winter. Yesterday I had some doubts about taking time to do this. Wouldn't it be better to be painting and making bowls now? I could use some income.
Today these doubts were completely dispelled as I was gathering oak leaves. It's early May, just past the full Leaf Moon here. But already most of the oak leaves have been torn or nibbled. Now I remember how difficult it can be to find complete leaves even in mid-summer.
As I took leaves from an oak, I found myself saying to the tree, "I want to make you immortal." A bit later, I remembered that a disease is threatening all the oaks. Maybe what I'm doing right now is more important than I thought. Certainly I feel more sure about it than I did yesterday.
Every spring I feel a certain sense of racing against the season. All gardeners know this feeling well. It's the same for an artist. There's so much to see! Every growing thing seems to be changing from moment to moment. How to take it all in?
I've been feeling the urge to collect and press leaves for several weeks. Our household medical emergency kept me from it, then my own exhaustion. It's not too late - not quite. But I'm racing the ants and other insects and who knows what else, in my search for the leaves.
As I hunted through the woods today, I wondered why this race with nature feels less stressful than other races - say, a "normal" race with the clock or calendar. I accept the race with the ants with some grace. I find it much more difficult to relax when racing the calendar, trying to accomplish something by a certain day. And days when I feel I'm racing the clock are my worst days of all.
I conclude that it's because human beings have evolved to race with nature when necessary - to find food, to stay warm, to not be eaten, to keep our babies alive. I'm part of nature. The clock and calendar are quite recent inventions. They have their uses as tools, but as masters they leave much to be desired.