Sunday, August 17, 2014

A plant out of place

People often talk about what is their favorite season is, but when I’m asked I have difficulties deciding.  I know I don’t like really cold, cold or hot, hot.  Most likely the best answer I can give is, I like late summer to autumn, the best.  As I left my house this morning and drove to church I got thinking about how beautiful all the wildflowers are, which is why I like this time of year.  Last summer I let my “Queen Anne’s Lace” go to seed resulting in a beautiful crop this year. I have lovely Black-eyed Susan cultivated the same way. Even though I have a background in horticulture, I don’t like gardening as a rule. I prefer natural beauty over cultivated to be perfectly honest. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate a well groomed and maintained formal garden, but there is nothing like a field of Indian paintbrush, Queen Anne’s lace or Lupine to brighten the cloudiest of days.

Last weekend I went to the town recycling center with my mom. While there she discovered this lovely little plant growing in gravel beside a dumpster, and made me dig it up so she could take it home to her garden. She later found out it was called “butter & eggs.”  What is so intriguing about this plant is that where it was, it was considered a weed, however when planted in my mother’s garden it became a plant of honor. Many years ago the nurseryman I worked for taught me his definition of a weed; it’s a “plant out of place.” Given the right location a plant of no distinction will be venerated by a gardener. Grass is detested in a garden, a scourge; however I went to college with people who were majoring in the cultivation and care of grass for lawns and golf courses. People spend lots of money every year on grass seed and fertilizer; not to mention “lawn weed killer.”  Dandelions are one of those “weeds” people fight with in their lawns, yet how many children have brightened their mother’s day by bringing them a cheery bouquet of those yellow sunbursts. I remember my father on his hands & knees picking dandelion greens for dinner with his pocket knife, yum. There’s a robust crop of violets in my lawn that greet me in the spring with lovely lavender blossoms.

It’s all about time and place, how many noted Americans had humble starts? Abe Lincoln, Thomas Edison, Sacajawea, and Rosa Parks:  all common folk until they were in the right place and have been given a place of honor in American History. You ever feel like a weed? Just remember, in someone’s garden you are a plant of great honor, even though you may feel out of place.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Loving green because of white

Anyone who has read my stuff knows I can whine; I can grouse with the best of them. I was just out mowing my lawn, which like doing dishes I have to psych myself up for, but while mowing the thought came to me “do I love green, because of white?”  Do I appreciate things more because of their opposites? You may be shaking your head wondering what I mean about green being the opposite of white: green as in grass & leaves / white as in ice and snow.

I’m thinking my little nugget for this blog post is I want to be able to look at difficult situations as a way of affirming simple day to day gifts, not just pains in my neck. I want to learn, deep down inside that the reason the days are shorter in the summer are because a summer night brings relief from the heat while winter days get longer allowing the sun to heat a frozen earth. I want to remember the reason I love the sound of peepers in the spring is because of the silence of snow cover as everything hibernates. 

I often take for granted day to day things unless I don’t have them. I don’t think about turning on a light until I am without power or checking email until I’m without internet. I don’t think about being warm until I am cold. Life seems to be full of little inconveniences lately and I've been whining, but the question I started with “do I love green because of white”, I pray stays with me.  Whenever I am faced with life’s little troubles and struggles I hope to remember it, to remind me… without work I wouldn't appreciate rest, without hunger I wouldn't appreciate food, without rain I wouldn't appreciate sunshine and without white I wouldn't love green.