In one of my rare visits to a relative living in the countryside, I came across a backyard of wildflowers and ripening fruit trees.
The sight was so inviting, as was the feel of the crisp morning air. I allowed myself to revel in all the loveliness around me and seated myself in a shaded corner. After a while, the natural beauties dancing before my eyes moved me to come close to each of them—to touch their leaves and smell their earthy fragrances.
But there was something more; in the silence of that home garden, I could almost hear resounding words of inspiration.
As a garden enthusiast, I am often struck by some of those beautiful reflections whenever I tend to my small garden. And what’s truly fascinating is that those sudden sparks of thoughts speak right through me—as if they were teaching me something “they knew” I needed that very moment.
It occurred to me that these silent living creatures are soulful friends too.
So allow me the pleasure to share some of these inspiring truths and lessons we can all learn from our humble plants, if we only try to see and listen.
The weak ones sometimes turn out to be stronger, more radiant.
At the start of their lives, plants struggle beneath the ground just to see the glorious sun above. That process can be exhausting. And for some seedlings, they need more nurturing than the rest—but we shouldn’t think of them any less. They only need more time to adapt to their particular environment to grow fully. Then, we can watch them grow sturdier and livelier than their “siblings.”
Similarly, I have seen a friend rise from being a timid, fainthearted girl to a gorgeously confident interior designer-event coordinator-mountain climber. She used to struggle with school and home problems, and she believed she wasn’t good enough for anything. She never imagined what successful career and active lifestyle she’d be leading in the years to come.
Life is a cycle of rejection and acceptance.
When I was just starting to garden, I spent valuable time and resources trying to grow a tomato plant in a container. The tomatoes were pretty much surviving, until I found pesky little worms taking down my sweet fruit. It wasn’t the end of the world, but to me, it was a grave loss. Seriously. I almost decided to stop my gardening whim. But, with dad’s help and lots of reassuring words, I managed to grow a whole plot of tomatoes.
Yes, we fail—but that doesn’t mean we cannot start all over again. And the best part is, we’ve become wiser and learn how to really tackle our next tomato garden. Life has to move on, even after rejection or failure, until we get to that sweet success.
Give and take—and give again
We breathe in the gift of oxygen from plants. We need it to survive, and plants give it to us without any reservation. Giving is part of their life cycle, just as much as taking.
I learned about oxygen-carbon cycle in grade school, but it was through actual gardening that I’ve come to appreciate plants’ role in that whole chain of goodness. “What an admirable attitude,” I would gasp. And to think that we are more capable of giving than any other creature on earth. That as much that we take things—service and inspiration from other people, even our loved ones—it shouldn’t be a big bother for us to give back to them.
Beauty comes in varied colours.
Every plant species is unique in many ways—from how they are planted and cared for, to how they look and grow to maturity. Each species comes in a blend of different colours. Each shade shows a unique character of the world we live in, and all represent beauty. It’s only a matter of how we look at them.
So it goes with people. In my travels, I’ve met a lot of folks. Different languages, tribes and skin colours—and yet, every one of them touches my heart just the same. Everyone is unique, and we should learn to see and appreciate beyond that differences.
Don’t take small growth for granted.
Some of my plants turned out smaller than I expected. At first, it was disappointing. But my dad would tell me to be patient. “Those plants are not at all hopeless,” he would say. For one thing, they have succeeded in sprouting from the dark soil underneath, and that’s a feat worth noting. They may be small now, but they’ll go through each phase as surely as the seasons pass until they mature.
As with us, we cannot always expect things to turn out great or expect to get what we want quickly. I would never have grown an entire garden if I hadn’t started with just one or two containers. And I certainly wouldn’t have found the career I have now, if I didn’t work to make it through school, and university, and make it to each graduation day. I did it one step at a time, with every small achievement leading me to my goals and happiness.
Death is inevitable.
Plants, people and other living things die at one point or another. Death is an inevitable part of our existence, and it has always been that way.
But the good news is: there is life after death. When a plant dies, another plant will breathe life from that very space where the other ceased to exist. Or better yet, that dead plant can be used as compost to add more vitality to others still thriving.
We can be like plants, whose existence or death can be a source of inspiration and life to others.
There’s a lot more to learn from plants. Their leaves and twigs can open up a new world of beauty and wisdom for us. Sometimes, we only need to walk in our garden to realize these things, and carry them with us, as we step out into the world.
Author: Libby Dizon
Image: Instagram @elephantjournal
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
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