One of my husband’s many pandemic projects involved the making and installing of the flower boxes that now line the rails of our front porch. Since we moved in last spring, I have been eager to get my hands in the dirt of this place. These boxes housed the first beds we planted this spring. I remember my enthusiasm at our local farm stand as I picked out far more starts than these boxes will ever hold. Imagination can be hard to curtail. The prospect of abundance is intoxicating.
When the sign was right, I got to work planting. It was an auspicious beginning followed up with a tried-and-true watering routine. Things should be flourishing! Alas.
I wish I could report that this first season is producing picture-perfect flowers, but that is not the view from here. Among other miscalculations, we overestimated the sun-to-shade ratio, which means that the flowers are working overtime to survive. I see their effort and have contemplated starting over several times. Some seasons call for radical uprooting. But I’d hate to miss what is right in front of me. To make up for some of our choices, many of the flowers are growing horizontally. Reaching across the short-length of the bed, they are leaning into the light. Watching them grow, I too, am learning.
And the flowers are blooming, if haphazardly. Each improbable petal reminds me that we don’t always get it right the first time and that looks are rarely a measure of things that matter. We’ll do better next year. Until then, there is life happening right here in the weeds.