Every morning I unlock the back door and step out onto my small back porch, walk down four steps onto a cobbled sidewalk and into my backyard garden. I planned and planted the majority of the garden while my Dad was still alive. I talked to him about my dreams and plans for this expanse of earth that was almost completely covered in English ivy when we bought the property. And one way I keep my Dad close to me is by walking my garden. Every morning. Just like he did in his own garden.
We returned from a week’s vacation so I was particularly anxious to “walk the bottom 40,” as my Dad used to say (he grew up on a farm!), to see what had changed during my week away. In the vegetable garden I picked three yellow squash, a sweet pepper and a zucchini. Not bad! Then I wandered over to the patio where pots of herbs thrive in the baking sunlight. The parsley was still thick and lush and the rosemary had gotten taller. The herbs were healthy, but needed watered.
So I turned toward the east side of the house, where Tall, Dark and Handsome hangs out, soothing me with his comforting, low-key chatter. I reached to turn on the spigot. That’s when I saw them: a lone corn stalk, complete with pale yellow silk hanging from the ends of what look like three ears of corn. The stalk is over five feet tall. I didn’t notice it growing before today. And when I looked more closely? I saw a sunflower blooming right next to it! I didn’t plant either one!
Astonished, I leaned over and touched the corn stalk to see if it was real (it is). Around our home jokes are played (okay, mostly by me) and I wanted to make sure I wasn’t being goofed on. I stood and stared at the two plants that had located themselves where they wanted to be, in my most formal garden. Unnoticed, the two humble plants grew, surrounded by roses, boxwoods, tree peonies and laurels.
I gave the corn a tug, but it’s roots are buried deep in the earth. It isn’t going anywhere. At least not without a fight. And the sunflower? The gaudy yellow bloom clashes with the soft pink roses.
I stepped back. Those two plants will remain right where they planted themselves. Why? Because they remind me that my Dad didn’t bloom where he was originally planted. He moved his wife and then-three children to New Jersey to find a place to flourish. Over the years, I’ve bloomed in places where I planted myself and I surely didn’t belong (can anyone say, investment banking?!).
Have you ever planted yourself somewhere you didn’t belong? What happened?
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