Seeing What Comes Up #sol18


Wild Rudebeckia in my garden

Seeing What Comes Up #sol18

July 31, 2018

I like to say that I’m organized, a planner… sometimes.  This morning I told my husband that I like a loose plan, some structure and some room for…what?  miracles? surprises? change?  In truth, I might crave more of the structure than I like to admit.

Call this the story of two … invasive species…  Our house is surrounded on two sides with woods, a small forest.  A small forest that would like to take that plot of land we stole back.  It’s a fairly constant struggle between us and the flora and fauna.

Often, little unidentified plants creep into my flower beds and start sprouting.

Most of the time,  I unceremoniously rip those sprouts right out of there.  I have a Plan.  I plant things I remember from my childhood,  things I planted in the Midwest, things I long to see as I pass by.  Many of those things don’t make it.  Those plants transplanted by me, watered, nurtured,  just don’t make it in this soil.  Those sprouts dropped by birds, carried in fur, washed by rain, do.


Solomon Seal, a delightful surprise

Sometimes,  I notice something in them.  A familiar leaf.  An inkling.  In those moments,  I leave them in peace.  Sometimes,  this leads to a big reward.  Like last summer,  Solomon Seal decided to take up residence in my side garden.  Nearly annually some truly wild flowers make themselves at home in our front garden. Today, a black eyed Susan and a bright pink Phlox are blooming with abandon.  If I planted them in my flower bed in the backyard,  they would wither or become a deer snack, but there where they weren’t planted,  they thrive giving joy to those that stop to admire.


Bright Pink Wild Phlox, a favorite of deer

This reminds me of my school life.  We plan, we “plant”, we nurture what we want to grow.  We rarely let the ‘weeds’ of what students want to do interrupt our plans.  Seeing what come up can be nerve wracking.  There are just weeds, invasive, troublesome weeds. It’s difficult to know what’s what. Maybe that’s the point.  Whose to say? I don’t let it all grow.  I still have a plan.  Some of what I do let go amounts to nothing spectacular. It reminds me of what Ralph Fletcher says about greenbelt writing.  Just like those greenbelts we are trying to nurture around our cities,  we have to nurture that writing in the wild,  those unexpected things that start to grow in pockets of time we give for just that wildness. We weed some, we nurture more.  We observe. We notice.

We don’t know what that sprout will grow into.

Let’s be surprised.



too much of a good thing?  a story for another day


7 thoughts on “Seeing What Comes Up #sol18

  1. I need to continue to work on letting my plan be a bit more open. I’m actually better at with kids than I am in my own life. I remember seeing a sign at the Washington DC zoo that said something like, Why do we call some plants weeds and others flowers when they are both so beautiful? That’s always stayed with me. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. We weed some, we nurture more. 

    I will carry this with me. Such lessons from the garden- for school and life. This post reminds me that sometimes the plan is out of our hands and even when that happens, there can be beauty and joy.

  3. “We rarely let the ‘weeds’ of what students want to do interrupt our plans.” We are planners by nature. Thanks for the reminder to let a few weeds interrupt my plans this coming school year.

  4. >We plan, we “plant”, we nurture what we want to grow. We rarely let the ‘weeds’ of what students want to do interrupt our plans. <

    As I head out to my garden to pull weeds (and yes, they aren't to be among my potatoes or tomatoes!), I'll keep these words close to me. Some days, allowing a "weed" to grow can bring surprising, even beautiful results.

    But not in my veggies, please! 🙂

    Thanks for making this slice real to me!

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