a peek inside the fishbowl

16 Jun, 2016

Moment of bliss #021

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Moments of bliss

Trees above

I was in the garden yesterday, determined to do a bit of yard work. I find yard work to be overwhelming at the best of times. We actually have a fair-sized lot and when we moved here (almost 20 years ago!) and we inherited sizable flower beds. Unfortunately, they aren’t nearly as nice as they were when we moved in. The previous owners had an English cottage garden theme going on with swaths of flowers planted in a spectacularly co-ordinated fashion. We were never able to keep the garden looking like that. Frankly, it’s a challenge just to keep it weed-free. My thinking is that if I spend 30 minutes out there every day I can get a better grip on yard maintenance and not let it get away from me so much. So that’s what I did yesterday. The problem is that my approach is highly unorganized. It is the very opposite of SYSTEMATIC. Basically, something catches my eye and I’ll do that until I see something else that needs my immediate attention. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. (Until I get tired and toss the garden tools aside.)

I usually begin with watering (it always starts with watering, because that takes no time at all) and then I inevitably spy some weeds that need to be yanked out. Then there are more weeds further along. The next thing I know I’ll be dividing a plant or trimming a tree. This is what happened yesterday. It started with “just one tiny branch” and that lead to another branch and that lead to more pruning and all of a sudden I found myself surrounded by deadwood and dried foliage.

After awhile (read: there was a pile of wood around my ankles) I started getting sweaty and hot. Bits of dead cedar were sticking to my skin and in my hair. So, I stepped over the dead branches, got a cold beer, and retired to the outdoor chaise lounge. It was heavenly. Of course, someone came over right away and made herself comfortable:

My garden helper

By that time, our yard was filled with shade. The birds were chirping and flitting between the trees and the bird bath. I was still, and they didn’t notice me watching them. The wind rustled through the branches and occasionally pushed them aside to let some sunshine stream through. I was in my own shady oasis, and it felt wonderful.

Related: are pansies the happiest flower in the world or what?

Pansies have happy faces

I took a deep breath, and then another.

I savoured the moment and turned it over in my mind, determined to lock it away and make it last as long as I could. Experts say that being mindful is key to happiness and I think they’re right. Even now, as I’m writing this, I can conjure up the feeling of bliss.

2 Responses to "Moment of bliss #021"

1 | Sarah McCormack

June 17th, 2016 at 9:11 am


that is the way I garden :) the best way….

2 | andrea tomkins

June 22nd, 2016 at 9:15 am


What can I say? It makes me happy! :)

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human offspring: Emma (24) and Sarah (22). During the day I work as a writer at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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