Where’s the Joy?

Tory, the dog that loves water, photographed by Robin Botie of Ithaca, New York.I get a headache just thinking about all the things that need tending. Some people can plow right through these like they are simply small puddles in their paths. Some eagerly lap them up or skirt around them. But there are others of us who have a way of making our puddles grow into deep swamps until we are sinking in mud.

The Internet was down and the kitchen sink was full of dirty dishes the day the electrician came to fix some dead electrical outlets, and the plumber showed up to repair the heater/air conditioner, and the excavator put in a drainage pipe to stop the garage from flooding. I was supposed to be pulling cattails from the pond but instead I was shooing away crows from the newly seeded lawn and following the electrician up and down the stairs. Where’s the joy? I wondered, thinking about the responsibilities and the bills that would follow. Abandoning my post, I phoned my friend Liz.
“Take me away from here,” I pleaded. “This is too much. I need to escape. I’ll go anywhere.”

She took me to Cayuga Landscape and then The Plantsmen Nurseries. We walked the grounds, sniffing the spirea, searching for a male holly and deer-resistant evergreens.
“Don’t look at the boxwood; it smells like cat pee,” she said. “This one you have to keep deadheading if you want it to flower. What’s your budget? Whoa, how many plants are you getting?” she asked as I dragged multiple flowering shrubs from their rows.Robin Botie of Ithaca, New York, selects plants at Cayuga Landscape and The Plantsmen Nursery

We drove home, the back of her car packed with Blue Princess hollies, Purple Candles astilbe, yellow coreopsis, blue catmints, and Buckley’s Quill mock orange. It was late when we got back. We unloaded the car and Liz left.

I looked at the fourteen plants that stood quivering on both sides of my front door, begging to be watered and planted. It was time to start facing my mud puddles.


What do you do to escape your responsibilities?

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4 thoughts on “Where’s the Joy?

  1. Lucy Bergström

    I just realized that I’ve been writing similar things to your blog entries, but as a column for our local pennysaver – though it’s a pennysaver without classifieds, if you can imagine that. Your topic of daily aggravations, frustrations, overwhelming responsibility, etc. is grist for my mill! I think such ruminations are so universal and everyone can relate, to running away from the sink full of dishes and the invasion of workmen. What do I do? I read an escapist novel! I’m rereading the Outlander series, which to some might seem a waste of time, but no…it’s a total joy. Yesterday I had a long day at work, with office job from 9 AM to 2 PM, then setting up for the film café at the church in the evening, making lots of sandwiches for the break. I spent a LOVELY hour reading in the middle, and the day was saved. Instead of feeling used up and wrung out by the time I left at 11 PM, I felt like I’d had a great day.
    I love that you wrote a blog without mentioning Marika. I know she’s there in everything you do, and you probably talk to her all the time, but you wrote a blog without mentioning her. She must be nodding up in heaven, pleased with your progress.

    1. Robin Botie Post author

      I loved reading the Outlander series too. It was easy to get lost in them, escape from everything else going on. Great break-taking material, yes. I should tear myself away from reading all these memoirs and pick up an “escapist novel” once in a while.
      So neat that you write for a Pennysaver-type publication in Denmark.
      Yow. I wrote an entire blog without mentioning Marika! Not sure I consider that progress but it is a surprise. More likely she’d be grumbling, “Mom. What about me?”
      Cheers to you, Lucy.

  2. Lynne Taetzsch

    So in response to having “too much to do” and being overwhelmed, you brought more work home, Robin! But this is work you love, right? It makes all the difference.

    1. Robin Botie Post author

      A week ago I would have questioned the “work you love, right?” part. But it seems I’ve developed an addiction to planting flowers since then. It’s not exactly love but I keep doing it, often planting the wrong things in the wrong places. Some strange need to fill up the space, I guess. Was it the Egyptians who filled every inch and corner in their art? Anyway, it feels good after, to have things looking beautiful. THAT makes all the difference. Cheers, Lynne.


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