Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Note: My muse is still on hiatus, so I thought I would revisit a post from the end of last summer. With spring just around the corner, it's a reminder of good things to come.
For a while now, I have been working on learning how to live in the moment. For an anal retentive, organization demon, this is a tough task. Move, move, move, put it away, get it done, do it now. My mantra.
As I try to release the urge to control my life, I am bombarded by hit’n’run reminders of what I need to accomplish. Magazine articles recommend: Let it be. Talk shows preach: Go with the flow. Spiritual teachers advise: Go within.
In trying to relax into the moment, I can completely stress myself out. But this summer, Mother Nature gave me a living example of sweet surrender.
For years I struggled in vain to grow tomatoes in my small city yard. I’ve taken out rose bushes to give them a prime sunny spot, but they were invaded by some kind of boring worm. I’ve planted in the hinderlands of the forgotten south side hoping more sun would please them, but the sandy soil was too poor to produce a real crop.
I put them in a huge pot near the house where I could keep an eye out for hungry squirrels, but still I lost the battle. I tied them to the side of the porch and ensconced them in mesh; the critters ate through it.
I gave up. I surrendered. No more tomato attempts for me.
This year as I was doing yard work, I noticed in the tiniest of cracks between the sidewalk and the garage something was growing. Never quick to weed, eventually the sprout revealed itself to be a tomato plant – obviously the gift of a neighborhood bird with incredible aim. I was amazed. I waited for it to die.
That plant is now six foot tall and cresting the roof line of the garage. I’ve had to tie it up four times to keep it from toppling. As of last count, there were ten tomatoes of impressive size, with another ten or so pea-sized fruit.
But the really magical part – the tenacious plant is growing in deep shade on the north side of the building that is really more suitable for the production of moss. I am confounded. Even the squirrels have been surprised into submission.
When I gave up trying so hard, I was rewarded with the fruits of no labor.
Now as I look out the window and marvel at the bounty I am about to reap,I can’t help but smile at the thought, at the irony of it all. But for me the real sweetness is in the lesson learned.