Watering at Night

The drip irrigation system isn’t working, so I’m doing the watering. At night. There is something lovely about standing outside at night, a deep blue sky over me, and house lights winking on and off along the street while the water hose makes the desert landscape smell of wet dust and blooming flowers.

The night-blooming cereus blooms just one night a year. The smell is intense and intoxicating. By dawn the flower is dead.

Watering at night is necessary. The air is dry and warm and water evaporates quickly. Watering at night allows the water to seep into the dirt and the plant roots to absorb more of it. Water at dawn, and most of the water evaporates before the plant can use it.

So I stand outside, the only person out in the street, watering the plants so they can face the desert sun tomorrow, having had time to soak up the moisture.

Metaphors make up a lot of my life. Looking at one thing, I can easily see it symbolizing something bigger, deeper, more important. Without metaphor, I couldn’t make it through one coaching session. Metaphor explains hard concepts in ways that are easier to understand.

I took the photo because the moon looked wonderful tangled in the trees. Only later did I notice the owl on the left side, toward the bottom. A lovely accident.

As I came in from watering the plants, I wondered about effort. The largest effort at the wrong time, no matter how sincere, is still at the wrong time. Someone offers to rotate your tires right after you’ve paid to have it done, and the effort is wasted. We wrong someone, we don’t apologize because we don’t think we were at fault. The hurt grows lager. The friendship falls apart over time. Years later, an apology won’t mend the friendship, won’t fix the wrong.

The rule of comedy is “timing is everything,” but I think it works that way in real life, too.

A problem you are trying to solve won’t get solved, no matter how hard you try. You walk away, and half an hour later the answer comes to you–in detail and just right. I don’t think you can force creative energy, love, or growth. Factors have to align.

Can you nudge your creativity into serving you when you want? Or do you have to wait for the right time to  act?

Quinn McDonald is a creativity coach. She’s also a writer and art journaler. She is the author of Raw Art Journaling.