Controlled mayhem is ambitious but the urge to impose design, to reveal beauty hidden in rough wood feels like a calling. I chose to live in a wild place despite the lawn and gardens that define it and now I’m picking up sticks from a heavily treed yard because you know, the wind will blow. When you send in the mayhem taming mowers, they don’t appreciate flying sticks. It occurs to me that I am the butt of nature’s twisted humor here in stick picking-up slave servitude, doing a job that will never resolve. Nature says she will make it my full time mission to combat her offensive.
This yard owns me as it raises wisteria and grape vine to drag down the order I try to create in the landscape. What was I thinking? It’s obvious I’m just messing up a plan made by the plan making power that I have no business interfering with.
Who said that I could edit this landscape? Who said I could choose what bugs would live, what plants could stay? I stand by the peonies and lilies every year to untangle vines that seem to rise up hidden in the night mad with the power to climb and suffocate and bury the innocents in the underbrush. I pick up the sticks that will kill the grass and trip up the mowers. I pull weeds from the vegetable garden and flower beds.
I’m battling poison ivy that arrives under the veil of the English ivy, creeping virginia, blue vinca and euonymous. There is an underground network of invaders that my husband says is probably holding up the whole neighborhood. You can pull the ends forever but the source gains strength beneath the surface. Earth ripples what the surface can’t contain, disrupting whatever stands upon it.
Here is one orange impatiens grown from a seed left years ago when I wanted that color in my garden. I’d hoped they would reseed for the next year but they didn’t and then I planted purple impatiens because I wanted to see purple and here comes one orange one to surface when I don’t expect or want it.
Who am I against these unseen forces? Is it useful to keep covering up ground that will eventually erupt? Should I recognize the nature of things bigger than me, separate from me, and lay off or turn the earth over? Haven’t I learned that seeds I didn’t sow grow when least expected? Our own forgotten seeds entangle us too.
Wishes, words fly unheeded, unguarded, unintended, to create what might be the right thing if it just didn’t come at the wrong time or in the wrong place. Perhaps I should spend more time untangling my own vines. Perhaps I should take stock of what I unwittingly sow over bursting ground. I am the plan making power of me. I am singularly qualified in the battle with my unseen forces.
I wish for space from people and get it when I’m lonely. I wish for better hours and get too many hours unemployed. I wished to be poor when I was young growing up in excess and got it when I needed money. I wished for curves when I was skinny and got them when I wanted to be less encumbered. I always wanted a horse in my back yard, and here are two in the yard beside me leaning over the fence to hang out with me but the people who own them are difficult neighbors.
I’ve sown so many wishing seeds.
Would we even leave our homes if we didn’t want something more than we have even if it’s something to eat? Don’t we always wish for something small or large most of the day? I want to….. I need to……When I… I’m going to…….. And the underground system gets tangled.
Thoughts become reality and wishes do come true. The variables are time and place. What you want now may come when or where you don’t want it or come as a result of something that wasn’t what you intended to happen. You may be living on a compost heap of forgotten intentions and desires.
I could accept a natural landscape strewn with brush but I shouldn’t wish for woods and not expect the fallout. I can’t control the seeds I didn’t plant except temporarily. I need to respect that what grows isn’t mine and find a way to live with that but I might have a shot at changing my own environment. I can certainly acknowledge what rises to the surface.
These days my personal desires are vaguer than ever. I mostly throw seeds to the wind and hope for the best. I saw a shooting star the other night and made a quick wish for good health and happiness for my loved ones and all of us. I could be more expansive. I think that next time I see a shooting star I’ll just take a page from the Miss America handbook and wish for world peace. Now, that couldn’t cause a ruckus. Or could it?
Editor: Kate Bartolotta.