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Friday, April 24, 2015

My Watershed Moment

I waited out the torrential storm in a small outbuilding. (Boy, that sounded dramatic. Which was my intention.) In actuality, it was not a torrential storm. But there was a small outbuilding. And I hid there while it rained this morning. Water? Shed!

We San Diegans don’t know what to do when it rains. Sometimes we pull out our lease agreements or mortgage paperwork, wave them around theatrically, and yell, “This is not permissible. By the terms of my residence in Southern California, it shall not rain!” We definitely do this if the rain coincides with any outdoor plans we have. Like today. I arrived at the community garden this morning, convinced it would not rain. There was a 40% chance of showers but I needed to paint at the garden. 40%? I’m not scared of a 40% chance.

It began raining within minutes of my arrival at the garden. Luckily, there was a refuge where I could wait out the rain: the garden shed! I used the garden shed as my own personal hangout when I was painting a mural on the garden’s west wall, nearly three years ago, during a particularly hot summer. That summer I’d take my breaks from painting in the shed, just to hide from the sun. The shed is actually shaped like a house, the pointy-roofed kind kids draw, like this:

I found the whole thing very cozy. The shed is playhouse-sized. It reminds me of the current tiny house movement, which has prompted people to downsize to a trailer or tiny house that often is only 100 square feet. I entertained a brief daydream about living in the shed, a cozy cottage set in the wonderland of the garden, my modern take on the fairy tales I read as a child. By then the rain had stopped. So I gathered my paint and strode purposefully toward the columns.

You may remember my mentioning the columns. They are now inside the community garden near our house. The garden was expanded last year and it’s much bigger now, and even more amazing than it was when we broke ground three years ago. There are fourteen columns inside it now, and I’ve been painting them with a garden theme for the last ten months or so.

Last summer I took a major break from painting the columns, when it was too hot to paint outdoors without whining constantly about the heat. But I began work on the columns again in January by creating a mosaic rainbow on one of them. My transformation of these columns has been slow-paced until the last few weeks. You see, we learned that the garden will be part of the local garden tour, which is on May 2. Oh, good! A deadline. Yikes!

In actuality, no one has pressured me to finish the columns before the tour. But once I knew that the garden was part of the tour, I felt quite motivated to speed up my progress on the columns. And it’s working! The columns won’t be 100% finished by the time of the tour, but they will be a lot closer to completion. The original ones are almost finished, each needing maybe thirty minutes of touch-up or final touches. Seeing the columns evolve gives me a real boost, and I love that community members get a lift from it, too. Today someone who was stopped at a red light called out that she loved the mosaic butterfly on the column I was painting. It made my day. This week I made some real progress painting the columns and I’ll be back soon to fling more paint around. I’ll give you a sneak peek at how the columns are coming along. Here’s the sketch I did a year ago, and here are the columns today:

The columns are full of color, and the plants in the garden and the ones I’ve painted on the columns look so charming together. Go, garden!


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