Day to day observations, trials and triumphs.
Wonder for the common and uncommon.
Stepping back to gain perspective.
Sometimes the garden just looks weary. Or maybe I am projecting my own feelings. But I can relate to this trio of Basil plants that has spent the season putting forth their best, and now lower their leaves and sigh. The intense sunshine, at first an experience to rejoice in and face with exultation, now saps their strength and yellows their countenance. Too much for too long, I suppose.
It's coming on time to tidy up for Fall--to layer with compost then mulch til I drop. There are also Fall plants to start, wild bushes to tame. My own leaves are drooping just thinking about it. But I know, once I get out there, it will be a delight, and the effort so worth it.
So many times we arrange the garden then disappear inside. Or we walk the paths and examine the plants, only to create a list of things to do. There is very little time or effort to pause and appreciate the beauty we've created, to recognize our pale imitation of the Creator in the work of our hands--the urge to create. To beautify.
I ran into this beautiful caterpillar in the garden yesterday. I was all excited thinking it might be a monarch, though I knew it was on the wrong greenery for such. However, when I expressed my excitement and invited my husband to come and admire the caterpillar, he turned up his nose, shook his head and said, "Get it outa there! I wouldn't trust any caterpillar!"
Unfortunately this put me in remembrance of my initial enthusiasm over the beauty of the Japanese Beetles. What was then so awe-inspiring had quickly become the bane of my garden existence. Or of my garden's existence. So I plucked the branch harboring the caterpillar and placed it in my weed bucket.
The caterpillar's life hung in the balance as I researched its pedigree and attitude. Does it decimate garden plants? Does it sting? Who is it, anyway!!??
After a time of research and consultation, we all agreed it is a Black Swallowtail caterpillar, which makes a whole heck-of-a-lot-of sense, considering I've seen so many Black Swallowtail butterflies around lately. Like, duh.
But I wasn't so far off with my original ID: these caterpillars do like to mimic monarchs so that potential predators think they are poisonous and will leave them alone. They don't sting, but "sometimes they can eat a lot of carrot greens."
So, thumbs up? Thumbs down?
I have rescued him from the weed bucket and placed him back near the carrot tops. I can't believe he survived the ordeal. He can have all the carrot tops he wants; he earned them.
And I can hardly wait until I see him again in his next life form. Turns out, beauty isn't always deceitful.
It only took a couple of weeks for the garden to go from glorious to tired. From beautiful to beaten. From wondrous to weedy.
It only took a couple of hours to pull out the plants that were visually offensive. Spent. Yellowing. The garden seemed to breath a sigh of relief and, having been cleaned up, now rests before the next plantings.
And though there is more work ahead to tidy up the plot, I am not discouraged. I see the rhythms in the process--the times of development and advancement, and the times of retraction and regrouping. And as I work on this land longer, these cycles are less intimidating, as I trust that my effort and input will continue to bring the place increasingly closer to the goal of the vision I hold for it.
Not that it will ever attain to that vision, pure and complete. Here. On this fallen planet.
But my commitment to it and the joy I have in seeing it develop give me an ever-so-small glimpse into the commitment and promise my God made to me:
"...He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion.."
I don't always see the progress. Indeed, I tend to focus on the weeds. And, Lord knows, I am quite a weedy garden! But I have this promise...
I have this promise...