2013-05-15 11.52.22

Growth takes time. Be patient. And while you’re waiting, pull a weed.    Emilie Barnes

It occurred to me today that our relationship with our garden is a little unequal.

I go out into the garden and I’m thinking “That buddleja is getting a bit straggly – I’d better cut it back. That hosta isn’t doing well. I’d better move it to somewhere that will give it more shade.”

My thoughts are about noticing what isn’t quite perfect and how I can improve it.

The garden never looks back at me and says, “You hair looks a bit straggly this morning. Why don’t you get it cut?”

Of course not. It sits there peacefully and lets me be me and you be you – just the way I am and the way you are.

It may be one reason we love our gardens – they don’t point out our imperfections and they don’t try to improve us. Yet at the same time they contribute to our wellness and they leave us a little closer to being our best self.

They encourage us to be patient – each flower blooms in its own season. You can’t pay for it to bloom earlier and you can’t use your advanced degree in engineering to build a stem that grows faster. You develop patience.

They show us how to accept what we can’t change, If that bush has fewer, smaller flowers than it had last year there is nothing much you can do but wait till next year. A tantrum will not improve the flowers, nor will threats or bribery. You can weep or swear or stamp your feet. It will make no difference.

Perhaps this is the reason we feel calmed and made to feel more peaceful by our garden. It has its own inevitability. We can go out there with problems or worries and it does not demand that we follow one solution or change our thinking. It does not even point out that we brought it on ourselves or that it’s all the fault of the government.

It goes steadily about its business of growing, leaving the complaints and rationalizations to us. We come away with some of that steadiness. For every ounce of  outer energy we put into our garden it gives us back a greater helping of inner strength.

It is, perhaps, a little unequal. But then, the garden has the power of nature behind it.


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