Every day, I encounter a new challenge to the idea that things can and should be open and real.

Be it social, political, or personal, serious or trivial -- every time, I ponder the implications.

I hope you'll join me in the conversation!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Over 20 years ago, someone gave me a Mary Engelbreit card with the phrase, “Bloom Where You are Planted.” At the time, I found it really encouraging. It seemed to be saying that I could be my best self no matter where I ended up, and that I had the power to “bloom” regardless of the world around me.

Since I became serious about gardening, however, I’ve come to interpret this saying differently. It’s a lovely metaphor, and it has an important message; but I’m not sure it’s a complete metaphor, and if you know anything about the natural world it’s hard to make this the simple Hallmark card that people so often want it to be.

As represented in this photo, botanical life can have an admirable tenacity. Those seeds and roots are driven to flourish and reproduce, and they will do everything in their power to make it happen, even in less than ideal conditions. (I believe it was Jurassic Park that coined the phrase, “Life finds a way.”) So we are impressed with this tiny plant, and yet isn’t there also a feeling of wishing it more soil, more sun, more room? There is something about this image that while it engenders admiration, also makes my heart hurt.

As a gardener, I like to determine the best place for things I put in the ground. I don’t expect things to bloom wherever I put them, and frankly they don’t. Over the years I’ve had many failures due to overenthusiastic planting, or due to the belief that things just ought to grow and thrive wherever I put them or want them to be. It ain’t necessarily so, and nature will school you pretty fast on what will work and why, regardless of your will. Accepting this is one of many life lessons I honor from my gardening pursuits.

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