Sometimes Creation imitates itself, and designs are repeated from form to form. Why else would there be so many instances of the Fibonacci sequence and the golden section? Why else would the human, the cat, the whale and the bat all have the same limb structure?
Maybe the design was just a good idea, and bore repeating.
The garden and I are coming up on an anniversary--it will be five years in November that we were introduced. Five years the following February when I committed to her (I toyed with letting her lie fallow, with naught but an occasional mowing. Then there was a shift in the universe...). And five years the following summer when she was established.
Ok. So only the first one is an impending anniversary. But starting from scratch five years ago, in retrospect, has been a real lesson in "The Law of the Farm," as per Steven Covey.* I wanted a garden. I was ready to work--and I tore into it with gusto(starting with cardboard sheeting, and then seven yards of commercial compost and garden stuff from all over the property, layered, lasagna-like). But, as with any great (or small) undertaking, I was naïve as to the obstacles to be faced. I didn't know the abundant rain here would wash the woodchips off the walking paths, swirling them into new and irregular patterns. I didn't know pomegranate trees would be so unhappy here that they would commit arboreal suicide. And I certainly didn't know about the Japanese Beetles...
And I didn't know that I was good at planting and weeding, but horrible at harvesting (weird, huh!), that I had never REALLY sweat in my life before moving here, and that the garden would grow life lessons as well as green things.
So why do I bring this up now, when this first anniversary is still a couple of months away? It's because of a moment--a garden moment.
I had a moment in the garden last week when I thought, "Huh. It looks like a garden."
Up to this point, yes, others had told me how lovely it is, what a nice garden space, etc. But to me, it was not yet a garden. To me, with all its weeds and bugs and sometimes sickly plants and plans that never came out right, it was not there yet. Then finally I saw it--with all its weeds and bugs and sickly plants and plans that had not come out as planned and I realized, yes, it's a garden.
As with a garden, so with so many other things, big and small. Life and plans, marriage, family, compost, a year, a day, a moment.
So much time in my life has been spent comparing my expectations with my reality, and thinking it wasn't a life yet. But if I am the garden, I know the Gardener is still and always faithfully working to form and mature me, not according to my designs, but to His. And He does not get discouraged at the weeds or bugs or sickly plants. Or plans that have not come out as planned. He still wants to Kiss the Garden. No matter how frustrating she is...
*author of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
It seems that some years of gardening a weed shows up that I've never seen before. Some, of course, are like old friends, familiar and persistent, and I relish the kinetics of accessing their roots and pulling them out. Others just show up, strangers in town, often pretending to be garden plants. Hmmmm. This years' winner of the Weed of the Year Award (WOTYA) goes to this fella:
He's been around all season, persistent and ubiquitous, and though I don't know his name, I feel it's appropriate to give him the honor this year.
I know I didn't plant him, so he's a weed. Maybe.
I'm riddled with doubts because I found this doppelgänger in the flower bed under the bird feeder two days ago. This is an area planted with a scattering of flower seeds--anonymous seeds impossible to ID until the flowers bloom. I scrunched up my face and declared out loud, "That's not the same thing, is it?"
Could it be?
There are so many similarities, right down to the bug nibbles. The greenery is quite lovely in the flower garden. It would be so nice if it turned out to have decent flowers. But, if so, have I been pulling out as a weed all season long what might have been a great plant for my garden ? Or, if not, am I allowing this weed to flourish in the flower bed in mockery of its other inhabitants?
So I wait. It's just one of those garden things, where you must wait for the truth to out. Like the wheat and the tares.
In the meantime, to honor the stranger in my garden, that often presents itself as lovely greenery, I present the First Annual Weed of the Year Award.
No monetary prize involved.
One of the reasons I wanted to paint, or do something to play with colors, was my experience in the upper reaches of the Sierra Nevada Mountains where one can see that wildflowers have no compunction about growing in proximity to one another no matter how their colors clash. I once paused along a trail in Desolation Wilderness, aghast at the way the purple, orange, yellow and green were combined. How did they get away with that? And it looked good. Reaalllly good!
In the flatlands, trying to array myself in colors found at Macy's or the Emporium, I would fuss and freak over how the greens differed too much, this color didn't work with that print unless that color was in this print somewhere, or this item went with nothing--absolutely nothing--on the dressing room floor or in the closet--yet I could be ever hopeful that someday....someday something would cuddle up next to it and create some zing. Hasn't happened yet.