Once the grass started growing this Spring, I started mowing and stopped writing. I even stopped thinking for a while … but I’m back. Pulling weeds on this most amazingly beautiful, cool weekend seems to have jarred the ole thought process … so I started thinking … and then I started reflecting on a number of conversations I have had lately, conversations that seem pleasant enough on the surface, but leave me disturbed on reflection. Those conversations have ranged from gossip riddled chats, to firing an employee an hour and a half after she started, to serious reflections on trying to understand life, family and myself.
I have buried myself in my work and my yard as a way to cope, and the yard provided me some ideas.
This is my backyard, just after I mowed it. I am very proud of it. Last year it was completely out of control and I was drowning in underbrush. That is Maggie, by the way … she is wondering what I am doing.
No matter how hard I try, this bed always gets away from me. It has a fine crop of Poison Ivy. Weeds thrive here … but what is a weed? It is something undesirable. So if I accept the weeds, maybe they won’t seem so invasive. Jackson is inspecting things here … he works really hard at keeping track of all the comings and goings.
In this garden, this volunteer Bee Balm might be considered a weed.
And yet look who stopped by to visit and enjoy it’s sweet gift of nectar. (I really need a faster camera — this butterfly was so excited. she wouldn’t hold still for me!)
From a distance, my garden beds are a riot of weeds and color …
But when you stop to focus on any one thing … well, the flowers are just lovely.
Even the old varieties show a complexity and color that is awesome.
So do you see where I am going here? It is easy to live only seeing the big picture. It is so easy to criticize, to second guess, to shake your head. What isn’t always easy is to step up and take a closer look. To take the time to see past what we think we see, to what is really there. Each of us holds good and bad. Each of us bloom at certain times and go dormant at other times. We are ever marching onward, some never moving a step, others on fast forward … all seeking something we may not even be able to identify.
What if we lay down our overcoat of judgement? What if we look past the weeds and the peeling paint of someone else’s weaknesses …
And focus on seeing the good things … close up and with empathy? What if we wrap ourselves in a sheer light shawl of tolerance and cut each other a break?
So let’s try it, OK? Let’s shed that overcoat … that heavy brown wool overcoat of judgement … you know, that one that somehow comes out of the closet every time we get a chance to run somebody down. Why do we do that? So we feel better about ourselves? I know I do it … but I am tired, and I am finding that I would rather be with my flowers and dogs, away from the temptation right now. I would rather wrap myself in that lovely light woven shawl of tolerance, seeking that place where we are equal and can respect one another — or at the very least, co-exist in peace.
I’ll be sad when my daylilies are done for the season … but I am determined to hang on to their ephemeral beauty … a fragile and yet tenacious reminder of all that is good.