Peace In A Tin Can

Peace In A Tin Can

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Spirit of Spider Wort

My flower gardens have no weeds.  People assume I spend time every day plucking the pesky weeds from the stones and mulch, but the truth is, I use a product called Preen, which I spread on all my flower beds in early Spring before any weeds start growing.  It works like a charm, and other than an occasional weed popping up here and there, which I pull while watering my flowers, I do not get many weeds in my gardens.

It's not that I don't like weeds.  When I travel in the tin can, I always come upon fields of wild things growing, most of which are weeds.  I find these landscapes breathtaking in their beauty, because who but Mother Nature could design such beauty with such perfection?  Sometimes I will even pull over to the side of the road, grab my camera, and attempt to capture the feeling that washes over me as I look out to the horizon and see the wild grasses and flowering weeds swaying in the wind, with such asymmetry that a natural balance results.

But lets not forget that I have OCD.  I have often dreamed of achieving that perfect landscape in my own backyard, but every attempt falls short, and usually ends up looking like an abandoned parking lot.
So I ditched my efforts to play Mother Nature, and created carefully sculpted flower gardens with pretty mulch covering the base, and the weeds that crop up are ugly, life-sucking, choking plants that propagate faster than an Irish Catholic mother and, left alone, would destroy all the beautiful flowers around them.  So I use Preen, and I pluck daily, and my flower beds look neat and clean, the way the flower beds of an obsessive compulsive gardener should look.

One of my favorite times of each day is early in the morning, when the sun is just peeking over the horizon and the dew begins to glisten.  The birds are waking up, singing their joyous songs, while the nocturnal animals are bedding down.  It is a quiet time, a time to pour a comforting cup of fresh coffee, and water my flowers.  As I water, I keep a keen eye out for an errant weed, promptly plucked and thrown in the mulch pile, which has become less of a mulch pile and more of a weed pile, because weeds will grow anywhere, even after being plucked.  This morning, though, my usual optimism at the dawning of a new day was hampered by some nagging worries.
My family is going through when of those times
when things just aren't going right, and little
problems keep popping up.  I thought,

"Wouldn't it be awesome if I could write a blog post with a mind blowing metaphor for the weeds in my garden and the weeds in my life?"

But I can't.  The fact is, there is no Preen for life.  There is no magic dust we can sprinkle around us to prevent chocking, life-sucking, messy, ugly things from popping up.  Oh sure, we can take steps to simplify our lives, we can build a rainy day fund for unexpected bills.  We can fill our lives with positive, caring people, avoid those who would bring us down, and help those we are capable of lifting up.  We can plan, organize, keep calendars, and be on top of things, but still, the weeds will pop up.  We really cannot control (even when we have OCD) the things that happen to us.  Job stress, busy family schedules, accidents, gas prices going up, a friend who is in trouble but can't see it, and appliances breaking down are all attempts to ruin our day, if we let them.  I'm pretty sure no one plans to end up in the ER with a sick or broken child, we don't hope for drains to back up, and we don't anticipate opening the mail to find a bill we had no idea was coming.  We didn't mean to leave the car windows down overnight when the sprinklers would run the next morning, or find a stain on our shirt after we're half-way to work.  We certainly don't intend to get cancer, have heart attacks, or develop dementia.  But all these things happen, all the time.  The weeds just keep popping up, distracting us from the beauty and purity of a perfect life.

I don't have a great solution for this.  All I know is, when the ugly, messy, choking problems pop up, I like to pluck them right away.  If I ignore them, they get bigger, they spread, and suddenly I've got a major problem.

Spider Wort at 7:00am
Spider Wort at 3:00pm
Several years ago, my sister-in-law suggested I plant a flower in my garden called Spider Wort.  It has multiplied and become one of my favorite plants.  Not only is it beautiful, but it has the most fascinating habit.  When I wake up in the morning, I am greeted with hundreds of small, yet stunning, blue-purple blooms, but by 3:00 every afternoon, they are gone.  Next morning, they are there, next afternoon, they are gone.  The blooming season for Spider Wort is quite long, and for several weeks each summer, I eagerly watch for the flowers to disappear and reappear, fascinated with the precise timing and coordination of it.  Every day, the Spider Wort gives me a brand new gift.  It is beautiful.

I don't need to employ weed control around the Spider Wort, because it spreads so profusely that it's roots choke out the weeds.  Unlike other flowers, like the delicate lily, the Spider Wort is too beautiful to be bothered by weeds.  So I guess we have a choice in life; do we want to be a delicate lily that needs to be tended to in order to save it from the choking weeds, or do we want to be the Spider Wort, that is so strong and beautiful that it won't allow itself to be diminished by the weeds?

I'm pretty sure you know which one I choose, but just so you know, for years my husband gave me a lily plant for Mother's Day, and it always died.  I finally got up the courage to tell him I hate lilies.  He doesn't bring me a flowering plant on Mother's Day anymore, but he did plant of small field of wildflowers in the back yard.  They are the most beautiful weeds I've ever seen.  Which leads me to my metaphor.  (Geez, I'm on a roll today!)

Most people think weeds are undesirable.  But they really can be beautiful.  Maybe the weeds

that pop up in our lives are disguised as ugly, messy, choking problems, but in the solutions to those problems, do we not often find something better?  Just something to think about on this wonderful day.

Keep plucking.  You never know what you'll find when the weeds are gone