This NOM was directly inspired by a friend’s FB post. (I’ve asked her if I could use it here.. and she said yes.. 🙂 ) There is so much good stuff here, that I’m going to take it one paragraph at a time..
“Like my life this bouquet is full of mismatched flowers. They all look as if I just stuffed them into a vase and called it a day. Though I took the time to cut and place each one. Sure it’s messy. But it’s also wild and beautiful. I’ve spent too much of my life trying to make things look nice and neat and always failing because that’s not me. No matter how hard I try I can’t color in the lines, or keep a neat and tidy garden.”
I find this kind of wildness to be exactly as beautiful as my friend does. Almost all of my appreciation of beauty in this world contains the facets of choice, imperfection, and implicit growth that one sees in this vase of mismatched flowers. For me–as I’ve noted before–beauty can also have connections to work and pain for me–i.e. that it’s connected to effort and sharpness in important ways. I see that here too… in the cutting and collecting of flowers. But an element that is added here is the idea of messiness being part of this beauty. Of the tangle of vines and blooms at random heights.
I love that and find it to be deeply true.
Perhaps it’s also that I see this beauty in my garden boxes in the midst of full summer growth. Tomato and cucumber vines snaking wherever they can.
Bushy pepper plants with hidden treasures in places you never thought they could be. Squash plants rampaging out of the box, over the edges of boxes and into the grass trying to take in all the sunlight they can. Collard greens and Kale exploding with giant leaves that will be devoured by our hungry iguana Reptar.
Beyond the beauty itself in this paragraph is the implication that so much of our society frames beauty as something akin to order. That beauty is perfection, cleanliness, and organization. Intellectually, I can understand how people might embrace that, but it’s not something that I grok on any deep level.
To me–beauty is found more in the dynamic and chaotic action of our lives.. more in the messiness of creation than in a tidy final product.
Today I learned a lesson from the weeds. They said, “hey, you can keep pulling us up, but we’ll be back” May I have the tenacity of a weed and the growth and beauty of a bountiful bouquet.
I LOVE WEEDS.
I don’t necessarily love weeding, and I will certainly be heard swearing while I work to remove them from places I don’t want them to be.
But I am constantly impressed by how effective and persistent they are.
Weeds fucking ENDURE. The purslane that I rip up out of the cracks in the pavement is back a month later–larger than before.
Also–it’s edible–as many weeds are. As people have phrased it–weeds are just plants in the wrong place.
And sometimes they are in the wrong place. When the dandelions try to crowd out my tomato plants, I rip them up. They are in the wrong place.
But in my yard, they are fine. They are better than fine because they feed the bees that will then pollinate my tomato plants throughout the summer. And they are beautiful to me–with their striking yellows and then their magical drifting seeds that are perfect for kicking.
So I too love the weeds and hope to be as tenacious as they are.
I was tired and hot and wondering why I bother to weed or care for a garden at all, then I looked up and saw all the pollinators and butterflies, grasshoppers and dragon flies. I do it for them. To have them in my garden pleases me. So yes, ultimately I do it for myself, but seeing all these beneficial insects frolicking in my garden is for everyone really. Nurturing nature is part of why we’re here, right? It doesn’t have to be neat or orderly, though it can be. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. Self care doesn’t have to be all about yourself.”
ALL OF THIS. And this is my Garden.
When I see my own garden and work in it, and see it grow and progress, but also then later die and end for a year, I am happy.
Working this garden is fundamental metaphor for how I see life. For me, Life is a Garden. We plant things, we nurture them, we hope that they grow.
Some things do. Others do not. If we observe, we might learn why not and then try something else to make it work better. This is true of the things that are within us and without.
So we must be perceptive, and smart, and patient. We must do the things.
And then we must do it all over again. And again.
That is life for me.
It is also about creating something that not only provides for me, but provides for others. Perhaps it is because I was raised catholic and was infused early on with notions of “good works,” but I fundamentally cannot imagine a life of happiness that is not engaged in processes that help others in some way.
Not that I have to save the world or do AMAZING THINGS!!!.. Not that at all. Rather, life is just like this garden of mine that provides for me, for my family, and for my friends… and that is enough.