‘God knows our timetable,’ that’s what Mitch said this morning. It was about finding a different place to live. We have to move because our landlords are moving back to Victoria and will live in this house. We knew this would come and yet, we also didn’t think we would be here longer than three years and we are. This adventure (another word for unpredictable turn in our lives) has been a kind of fly by the seat of your pants kind of unfolding. Mitch’s assurance to me was about our move to another rental, however, it illuminates a wider look around.
I still get anxious or over invested (another way to say the controlling and figuring out story of my life that doesn’t serve me well) in thinking about one thing. I get lost in the managing instead of a healthy surrender to the unfolding. I live in that one place or one circumstance that I perceive or imagine is possible. My fretfulness is a black out curtain that keeps me from seeing the majesty and grace right in front of me.
I don’t appreciate yard work. My dad had three daughters and my job was lawn care. Specifically, I dug up dandelions with a long fork-like tool. Like cleaning the bathroom, weeding dandelions is never really accomplished; bits of root hide in the dirt and those perennial seeds blow from the near and far. Weed is an arbitrary designation—for dandelions and for those cute little daisies in the unkempt yards and wild places near me.
Earlier this spring, I stopped to take a picture of the yard at the corner of my street where an elderly couple live. I’ve rarely seen anyone tending the natural growth surrounding their house. One the day I took the picture, the sunny yellow heads among the white petite ones were a happy and beautiful surprise of spring that comes without planting or planning. All anyone has to do is not interfere, not work to pull them up because that doesn’t work anyway—the roots run deep.
So why are they called weeds?
I learned that the dandelion plant isn’t actually technically considered a weed although the average person would probably describe it as such. Even the USDA’s Federal Noxious Weed List doesn’t consider dandelions a weed. Dandelions are incredibly hardy plants that grow well in most soil types and even though they prefer fertile soil, they have a high tolerance for nutrient-poor soil too. I read in our local newspaper that every part of the dandelion is edible (yes, for humans) and dandelions are an important food source for many creatures we may not notice.
I guess we might say that dandelions in the yard are wild and they can’t be easily contained. They are part of the natural environment. Maybe dandelions are even countercultural since they don’t conform to our image of a well-maintained garden. And yet, those yellow flowers brighten the yard and the puffs of seeds they turn into capture most children’s imaginations. In our adult efforts to manage, we lose sight of the wonder and beauty and usefulness of these wildflowers.
So, my months of daily attention to the rental sites online yielded lots of frustration and laments that also needed some reimagining. We own a “big dog,” for example, that was a greater nemesis to property owners than a cat or a small yappy lapdog (don’t take offense). What might I take forward from the untended and unintended bounty at the corner of my street?
Part of our calling as humans, I believe, is to hold the dissonance between naming weeds or flowers. The world offers itself to our imagination. We have an opportunity to be open and filled with wonder at what we cannot control, that we might name weeds. Like the unfolding story of the house we will rent soon that was not on the rental market. We glimpsed a possibility looking out of the corner of our eye, instead of peering straight into the conventional places. Again, I can stand back; I can think a little differently, and maybe even appreciate and awe in the beauty.