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.
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.
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.