Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Looking Up: Garden Edition


Weeds are a major headache in the life of any gardener.

Defined as any plants that are growing where they are not wanted, these little green buggers are a persistent and pervasive nuisance.


In my own gardens, it seems like the faster I pull them, the more rapidly they spring back. 

And every time I turn around, there's a fresh crop of ugly shoots, mocking my efforts and taunting me to try again.


This past weekend, I was struggling with a particularly frustrating weed-pulling session. 

In a fit of hopelessness, I took a break from my back-breaking work to throw myself on the hammock and contemplate my resentments.


From this new perspective, everything changed. Rather than focusing down on the ground, where the tiny sprouting source of my irritation takes root, I was gazing up. Freed from the earthy distraction of those darn weeds, my eyes were able to take in the glorious heights of my garden's beauty.

Sunlight filtering through the delicate leaves of the Japanese maple.
Pink roses climbing up to the second story windows.
Trellises and arbors tucked here and there among the greenery.
Spiky tree tops of the neighboring Douglas firs.
And the azure blue sky soaring over all.

Yes, I do need to stay on top of those wicked weeds. But they do not tell the whole story about my garden. There is much to enjoy and celebrate, even as the green demons make their mischief at my feet.


And as I lay quietly in my shady corner, thinking these thoughts, I was reminded all over again that this is how life works. 

Irritations come into my life; annoying events that do not fit into my idea of How Things Ought To Be. Try as I might to root out and remove them, these situations often persist. And if I'm not careful, I can really wear myself out in this never-ending quest for order and control.

My mom's Alzheimer's is a perfect example. 

This summer, the daily challenges and difficult details of her illness have been springing up with alarming speed and tenacity. I pour myself into their resolution, which I surely must do. But at the same time, I feel the exhaustion setting in, and I know that in order for me to stay helpful to her in the long run, I need to be much more careful.


So from time to time, I will remember to wander back to this corner of my garden, plop myself down into the hammock and take a few moments for looking up.

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Read more stories about looking up, down. and all around:

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