Adrian Cowell describes patience as “the slow rhythm of waiting.” Well, I must admit, I was getting tired of waiting and kept threatening to mow down all the “weeds” along one side of the long driveway that snakes around into the middle of our farm.
It’s not that I really have anything against the weeds; many are colorful, like the bull thistle with its vibrant purple blooms. Yes, it’s prickly, but so are the thorns on the roses. The farmers around here just hate the multiflora rose that seems to swallow fence rows, but I think it’s pretty. Honeysuckle is also said to be an invasive species and best treated with toxic chemicals, but I refuse. I just love the endearing fragrance of the blooms and their sweet taste.
Now, the flowers are gone and the vines look like more brush to be cut.
I still thought of cutting them all down. Katrina kept saying, “They’re not hurting anything. Just let it be. After all, it provides a refuge for the wildlife.” I couldn’t argue with that. Deer would nest in the high weeds and rabbits would scurry and hide, making it more challenging for the coyotes and hawks to catch them. Yet it all was looking a bit unruly.
Now there’s a word for you: “unruly.” Hmm … I’ve been accused of being unruly myself. But who sets these rules that the rest of us must follow? Are they the rules of nature or the rules of social convention? As an example, who says that every suburban home must have the grass cut to a certain length? Nature’s law sets its own height for the grass, but social standards set another height.
Looking at it from this perspective, along with my wife’s persuasive suggestion that I be more patient and see what else might yet bloom, I waited. Remembering that last spring she cast several pounds of wildflower seeds along the road to the house was also a good reason to be patient. I had all but forgotten that. Still, there were no signs of anything coming up but weeds.
Katrina and I had a vacation planned and went down our to-do list before we left. I found I didn’t have enough time to mow along the road, so it was left to be its unruly self. It was dark when we returned more than a week later. As the headlights illuminated the driveway, it took our breath away! The entire side of the road was filled with a hedge-high wall of purple and pink flowers. Maybe it was nature’s way of thanking us for allowing it to be exactly what it is: wild and beautiful. Or maybe it was just a good lesson in patience.
I have learned to also be patient with others. I can recall so many times when I found it easy to judge people and expected them to conform to my expectations, beliefs, or opinions. But, over the years, I’ve learned not to cut other people down because they strike me as weeds. How silly, I think, looking back. Even if we don’t look that way or give any signs of it, I believe we’re all here to flower, given enough time and patience. Given enough time and patience, we get to be pleasantly surprised as both seasons and ourselves change. As the old saying goes, “Patience may seem a bitter plant, but it comes with a sweet fruit.” So, I vow to be more patient. You never know when those weeds will become flowers!
Patient reflections from my driveway,