My sage is growing back. It’s hard to believe sometimes that this herb that will eventually turn into a massive bush of silvery leaves and lavender blossoms started in a cold, dusty basement a couple of years ago. I once ran across an adage some time ago about perennials that has proven to be true:
The first year, they sleep
The second year, they creep
And the third year, they leap
The reason behind this, according to Poundridge Nurseries, is that it takes awhile for the roots of many perennials to get established. They need to search for nourishment from the soil and get acclimated to their new environment before they can support external growth.
This is encouraging to me, and not just because I garden. Lately, I have tried to do more “doing”, i.e. making things. Yesterday I made a little pillow for our soon-to-arrive-daughter. It was made from a tea towel my mom gave me, and I got the idea that it would look cute with our chosen name for her on it and some sort of piping all around.
Of course, that’s how ideas work – they are easy to imagine, like little Pinterest pins that look perfect in your mind.
And then you have to make it happen.
I know a little about sewing, and it wasn’t that I didn’t have all the supplies, but figuring out how to make the piping was a little bit frustrating. I first realized that I needed a different kind of foot for my sewing machine, and then had to learn what a zipper foot was, and then once I did, even then the piping didn’t go on perfectly (and neither did the embroidered name – it’s crooked). It’s not something I would sell or give to anyone but a newborn who can’t really see and doesn’t know any better anyway. But in the end, I think it’s an okay job for a first attempt, and the more important thing is that I tried. And now I know what a zipper foot is and how to use it.
I’m inclined to hope that learning a new skill is somewhat like planting a perennial – the initial effort can feel daunting, and the result paltry. But the roots of a skill, once established, are much easier to grow. Through seasons of trial and error, you suddenly find yourself enjoying the thing that was once so hard to do, and surprise yourself when one day the skill feels effortless.