One of the most amazing things I find in the garden are the imposters–the weeds that do their best to look like the real flower in the row or bed. Sometimes they do such a good job I let them be. They may be fakes, but there is something admirable in their struggle for existence–and who are we to say what is a weed anyway? I once had a lady come pick her own flowers on our farm and she took home a bucket of weeds and was pleased as punch. Seems to me we are all weeds aspiring to some ideal vision of ourselves. And, as in the case of Hedda Gabler, when that vision is at great odds with reality, it is great tragedy. Or as Thoreau said back in the 1800s, before all the secret talk of the laws of attraction, “Sometimes, no doubt, we find it difficult to choose our direction, because it does not yet exist distinctly in our idea.” At least these weeds in the garden know what they’re aiming for and keep trying to perfect themselves year after year. Worthy of praise.
The world blanketed in snow is a clean slate on which to create: cardinals and bluejays came first today, then small, yellow finches. And then the flock of noisy blackbirds that clean out the feeders, but are still part of the design–black on white. Ying Yang. The balance soon regained. Walkways shoveled. Roads cleared. Power restored. But where would we be without the storms? Those storms that upend us and make us stop. Watch. Listen. A good story does this. It threatens. It rattles our doors and windows, forcing us out of ourselves and into communion with others, leaving us, together, to assess the damage. What a storm, we might say, what a story. . .
A friend of mine recently retired early from her full-time job and said it felt as if she were floating that day–not just from sheer joy, but she was feeling less grounded, her routine altered. Change is good they say, but it can feel as if we’ve been uprooted, re-potted, even with the most careful of planning. When we dig up herbs or perennials, extricate their roots, then transfer them to a different bed, they require nurturing for several weeks or months after–extra fertilizer, extra water, shading for some. They have been yanked out of their familiar environment and are vulnerable. We are no different, the characters we write about are no different. Yes, some people adapt to change better than others, but there is always an adjustment period, a time when we are at the mercy of nature and rely on the kindness of strangers and friends. The victims of a tragedy, such as Hurricane Katrina, understand this all too well. And I believe it is so when we transition from this life to the next. . .