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Reflections from the Garden

September 14, 2010

My garden has been my solace over the years, my place to think and contemplate, to find peace and joy, to experience being solely in the moment. It is my place to meditate and ease my soul. It’s also my place to vent; there’s nothing like going on a serious weed pulling to expend energy and work out anger and return my inner thoughts to something more calm.

It also is a source of inspiration, a way of experiencing awe at nature and a reminder that just because I haven’t seen a particular plant before (the wildlife and the wind bring new plants each year), doesn’t mean it is without value.

This past spring I saw the back garden inundated with these odd, gangly prickly plants that the ants loved better than sunflowers. And I contemplated on whether it was intentional (whether it had been in a wildflower mix and I just hadn’t seen it before) or if it was a weed that I’d always gotten pulled earlier. I left most of them, removing only what was in the way (in other words, 99% of them stayed!).

The tall greenery amongst the coreopsis.
Like so many things in our lives, we cannot predict what the results of our actions will be, what discoveries we will make when we choose to let what appears in our lives be and grow of its own accord. Will it result in a mess, a nasty weed that overtakes and chokes out all beauty (why, yes, a metaphor for all those whose bitterness festers and chokes out all joy and light)? Or will we instead find that we have allowed a beautiful flower to flourish and thrive?
It blooms, and I have enough to correctly identify it as a sawleaf daisy.
Will it always work out that my choosing to wait until it’s bloomed will yield such beauty? No, I know it doesn’t; the years I don’t get all the tumbleweed plants while they’re babies proves that leaving some things be can lead to a right mess on your hands.
But most times, what I’ve learned is that the things we’ve been taught to identify as weeds to be pulled from our yards lest they mar the the perfection of a perfectly bladed lawn are in fact beauties to be appreciated and cultivated. I’d far rather have my front garden filled with native Texas wildflowers than have a bermuda lawn. I like the diversity and the constant change. I don’t mind the work of clearing out the finished plants so that the new seedlings have a chance to emerge and share their beauty. I don’t mind waiting months to see what an unknown seedling will bring.
Another mystery plant, but oh isn’t it pretty?
Silver Leaf Nightshade (that most here consider a weed to be removed).
Maximillian sunflower.
Life, if we let it be, is a lot like a carefully watched but not carefully controlled garden. It has lots of surprises in store for us. There are the traditional joys that we expect and the completely unexpected ones, as well, joys that come out of moments, indeed months, of confusion and uncertainty. It’s up to each of us to decide what seedlings are the weeds to be ruthlessly pulled out and removed or the wildflowers waiting for a chance to dazzle us.

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