In Texas, March and April are the months of the wildflower blooms. Bluebonnets, the state flower that are a part of the lupin family, grace fields with their other flower compatriots. One of the reasons why these flowers are in such abundance is due to a woman named Ladybird Johnson, who set aside many areas that were allocated as natural green belts for walkers, cyclists and families, but also suggested that the highly mowed highway edges be left long in the spring so that the grasses that held flowers could foster the spread of colour year after year. When I look at them, they not only make me smile, but make me think of the subconscious mind and the way we think year after year…
What’s a Weed?
That’s an interesting question that changes from place to place. A weed tends to be something that grows prolifically yet is seen as non-desirable. In some places orchids are weeds while they are highly respected elsewhere. In other places goldenrod is an allergy sufferer’s weed while it is used in bouquets in other regions. So a weed, to me, is a perspective. We are usually taught what is considered a weed early on in life. As I walked around the garden with my elders, I was allowed to pick some growth that needed to be gotten rid of, while I often found myself putting back pulled plants that were planted on purpose (which my husband does even now).
What would it be like if nothing was considered a weed? How would that change flower gardening around the world. Maybe make it a bit more chaotic, or less orderly? Or maybe make it easier? How could that be translated to the way we think, feel and behave? Are some of our ‘bad’ habits also weeds in our lives? Maybe it’s time to look around with some gentler, and grown-up eyes to see if some of the ways we have allocated our goods and bads in different columns may have been set up with a different pruning schedule in mind.
Just as Ladybird Johnson respected the natural cycle of growth along the multi-laned intruder roads of Texas, are some of our weak points simply our natural talents peeping through cultural asphalt? Take a look at your ‘weeds’ again and see what needs to be nurtured rather than pulled.
Flowers Living in Harmony
One of the things that I like most about the spring wildflowers is the riot of colour that erupts every year. If it were someone’s wardrobe, there would be disapproving comments about the mismatch of tones that may not be appropriate for an evening out. But throughout the fields everything matches perfectly.
Often the combination of flowers occurs because they are symbiotic in nature. Some flowers need certain minerals or shade that others don’t use or provide. Birds of a feather may stick together but often the wide variety of different needs of plants gives a spectrum of colours and differences. When I look at the diversity of plants, I often wonder how these sprouts could be models for the rest of us. Could we look at others, with their different skills, perspectives, needs and approaches, as other wild flowers who have not only as much right to be in the same field as we do, but complement our very existence? It might mean that we could cohabitate with greater compassion and see the strengths of others with more clarity.
Make (mental) Space Beautiful
When the spring comes and the flowers are out, all of the roadways look better to me. They glam up the otherwise grey paths that cut through the city and countryside. Are there ways of putting flowers or colour in our own thoughts? While you’ll need to find your own flower equation, I believe that finding beautiful memories, thoughts and experiencing the feelings that stem from them, plant further seeds of beauty and contentment. Yet unlike the wildflower seeds that tend to replant themselves year after year, we need to be a bit more resolute in reminding ourselves of the things, people and conditions that arouse the acknowledgement of beauty that actually tends to surround us daily without our even being aware of it. Because as our awareness grows, our energy and focus flows to it, reinforcing it and providing the perfect environment of these positive buds to bloom.