For ten years, I planted a garden every spring. For ten years, the deer ate almost the entire garden. I would get an occasional tomato and the deer seemed to leave the zucchini alone. They ate most of the raspberry leaves on half of the raspberry plants. Hey, I was happy to have half a harvest of raspberries. Finally, I put up a fence and oh my, what joy! So many raspberries, I had to freeze bags and bags. One year, I remember freezing almost ten one gallon freezer bags of raspberries. The rest of the garden looked like the Garden of Eden. I even got bold enough to plant tulips. Deer love tulips, so I'd avoided planting tulips.
This year, I was especially excited for the tulips. They had a year behind them and tulips multiply year after year. My visual feast was going to be doubled. And when the feast did come, it was everything I expected: purples, yellows, oranges, pinks, sculpted into forms more artistic than a Monet landscape. The espaliered fruit tree was finally thriving too! I'd moved it three times and this seemed to be the winning location. It was covered with thick green leaves.
When the weather was good, I spent hours in the garden. Planting, weeding, turning soil, and enjoying the tulips. One night I stood on the deck and looked out over the garden. It didn't get any better than this.
Then the painting started. I primed the cold frame and the bee boxes. I had to move throughout the entire backyard, beyond the fenced part of the garden. I had to go in and out of three different gates. It was much easier to leave the gates open. Not once did I worry about shutting the gates--my garden was so beautiful, I had forgotten about the deer.
This morning, I walked into the garden. As I passed the espaliered tree, I took a double take. The leaves were sparse. What happened? Was it a wind storm last night? Had insects gotten to it? My eyes swept over the rest of the garden. The triangle of 50 full-bloom tulips was empty of color. Deer.
I had let my guard down and the enemy came in for the tulip kill. I was heart-sick. How could I have been so careless?
Richard St. John gave a TED talk titled: Success is a Continuous Journey. So many of us do what it takes for success and when we get there, we discontinue the steps and habits that made us successful in the first place and the success seems to slide away. How many times have I done that? He says, " we get there, figure we've made it, we sit back in our comfort zone and we actually stop doing everything that made us successful and then we start going downhill."
I'd taken the success and beauty of the garden for granted. The success of the garden only depended on the simple act of shutting a gate.
What simple act might be keeping you from success?