Monday, July 23, 2007

Marking Time in the Garden

I imagine that almost every gardener knows the feeling. All of a sudden, there is too much vegetative clutter in the garden. It wasn't noticeable yesterday but today there is an overabundance of spent blooms, drying stalks, and newly visible weeds peeking out from under soon-to-be-blooming plants. I am repeatedly amused that some weeds seem have an innate skill for choosing the plants with whom they attempt to co-exist. It is as though they recognize their own form and lurk amongst the garden plants most resembling themselves. Thinking about weeds plotting and scheming brings a bit of humor to my eradication efforts. Perhaps I could write a book, Spies in the Under(story)world, or something to that effect.

I am always surprised at just how much biomass I pull out of the garden at this time of year. I'll make several wheelbarrow trips to the composter and after a while it will be filled to capacity, leaving no room for the excess. It recently occurred to me just why I seem to unconsciously put off tackling this tidying up project each summer. I do not like to face the reality of time passing. Like a child who puts hands over eyes and assumes she is invisible, I want to pretend that spring has not come and gone once again. Cutting down the stalks of sundrops and columbine means admitting they will not be back this year. Spring can seem so fleeting, like life itself. Will I still be here to see these end-of-winter, welcome flowers again next year?

Someone I know once said that we are surprised by the passing of time because we were made for eternity. I agree. And yet, though we live finite lives, we can choose to make the most of the time we are given. After I face the fact that the garden needs a good grooming and do the work required, it seems to sparkle with new life and promise. Removing that which has served its purpose and celebrating that which is yet to come brings an enhanced beauty and an eager anticipation for the next season of blooms. It is a lesson well worth remembering as I live out my days, even in settings other than the garden.

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