gratitude makes flowers out of weeds

by rebecca on June 6, 2012

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Dandelions were always flowers when I was growing up. They became weeds when I bought a house and began to worry that my lawn didn’t measure up in the neighborhood. Then I saw this photo from my cyber friend Stacia at Fluffy Bunnies and I was five years old again lost in yellow and gratitude.

Thank you is not just polite, it’s powerful.

Gratitude changes dirt into soil for my garden, darkness becomes a house for the stars, and interruption is merely opportunity for connection with my Labrador.
The same Stacia sent me a little tiny book the most lovely peacock blue. It is just big enough to receive the 5 things each day for which I am grateful.

I began with the obvious: my family, the cozy blanket that warms me until the sun rises, raspberries for breakfast. But, because I currently have a no-repeat rule, I began to see how weeds could become flowers just like dandelions.

Now the question I’m on the prowl for is what makes me grateful? So, when my husband didn’t want to join me pulling weeds in the garden, my brain went to work finding the answer: I notice more aroma when I’m alone. There is more room for friends to join me. I hear the crickets because I’m not talking.

I used to stew.

I’d sit in the garden pulling weeds alone and spend the hour listing reasons why my husband was failing me. I could have filled a very large book! He doesn’t appreciate beauty. He doesn’t value me or our home.

I got what I thought. Which wasn’t super cool.

So I began to think about other things.

When I began to be grateful for my husband who takes pride in our house I saw the garden boxes he built so I could grow salad. I saw the fence he built with our son.

I can pull weeds once they’re there. but I have zero ability to raise up a bed to lift the soil away from dirt so fewer weeds can populate. I’m not the hammer and drill girl who will keep the deer from eating what I grow. That is where my husband’s fences come in.

He still doesn’t like to pull weeds and I’m grateful for that. It allows me to get untangled from bindweed momentarily and see the garden I’m growing. I need that time alone to list the things for which I’m thankful.

What altared spaces are growing in your backyard? Is there bindweed strangling your thoughts of gratitude? Do you find it easier to be grateful for food or people, fences or garden beds?

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Stacia June 6, 2012 at 7:18 pm

Here in Romania, there are fields and fields of dandelions. It’s amazing. And it’s so very beautiful. I have forgotten to think of them as weeds, and my children’s enchantment with them continues to grow. What will it be like when we’re home? Oh, how I hope I can keep this perspective, the one you write about, the one that took you (and me) a while to discover. Help me, okay?

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rebecca June 7, 2012 at 6:15 pm

That kind of help will be my pleasure! I love this idea that what we call a week, Romanians allow to flourish. It is such a pretty color. What else in my life have I mislabeled?

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Shannon June 6, 2012 at 8:07 pm

Pulling weeds is good thinking time, isn’t it? I view that time as a stream-of-consciousness thing, and I always feel better when I’m done. I keep a gratitude journal too, and I’m so, well, grateful! Thanks for sharing the pretty journal and dandelion pictures!

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rebecca June 7, 2012 at 6:16 pm

I must admit, Shannon, I’m not there yet in the total appreciation of weed pulling as thinking time. I’m moving in that direction, however. I think the gratitude journal is helping 🙂

Have you always been a gardener?

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Yvette Francino June 7, 2012 at 2:32 am

Gratitude is a wonderful thing. I never knew how much I took for granted until I watched my friend, Craig, as he lived his final year with ALS. I remember how he still found beauty in his very major ‘weed-filled” life. Even when he couldn’t move or talk, he still loved life and all the people in it.

Thank you for always reminding us to find the positive in life. We are all grateful for YOU!

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rebecca June 7, 2012 at 6:17 pm

This is a wonderful twist, Yvette, to remind me of Craig. Yes, he had plenty of weeds and yet he was constantly calling forth love.

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suzicate June 7, 2012 at 1:11 pm

I began to appreciate dandelions when they came from tiny little hands and with big slobbery kisses. Dandelions are one of nature’s truest forms of love…absolutely NOT a weed!

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rebecca June 7, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Isn’t that the truth, Suzicate? Dandelions almost scream tiny hands.

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Jeannette June 7, 2012 at 9:10 pm

I have shared those same thoughts out in the garden, my friend! The good and the bad, if there is such a thing. Once I remember to stop being resentful that I’m alone in pulling weeds, I find it’s actually one of the more enjoyable things I do all week. I love that those weeds give me such a great excuse to sit on the ground and get my fingers in the earth. When I’m back inside rinsing dirt from underneath my fingernails, I don’t mind knowing there will be more in a few days calling for my attention.

What a lovely post! (And thanks for the link!) 🙂

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rebecca June 8, 2012 at 11:57 am

Isn’t it the truth that the job of pulling the weeds sounds so dreaded until I’m actually doing it? Then, I’m sitting, smelling the mint and oregano. There is sunshine on my back or the glow of a sunset asks me to put on a jacket and I’m grateful for work.

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Dana Boyle June 8, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Beautiful post, Rebecca. As I journey into motherhood, what has struck me this spring in my garden is the nurturing that goes into taking care of my plants. Every one of those flowers and shrubs was planted by my own hands and I prepared the soil (after my husband tilled it for me). Every time I pull weeds, I am nurturing the soil and the life in my garden – helping it retain nutrients so that it can flower and grow. Same thing with watering every morning or evening. It extends beyond that when I realize I’ve attracted butterflies, birds, bees of all sorts, dragonflies, bunnies, chipmunks and, yes…deer.

I am mothering my garden. There are a host of things to be grateful for there.

🙂

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rebecca October 19, 2012 at 8:54 pm

This is such wonderful evidence: “I am a mother already.” Mothering the earth. Love this, Dana.

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Mackie June 8, 2012 at 5:17 pm

It’s only a weed if you don’t want it there! Even some things we intentionally plant become a weed when they invade spaces where we don’t want them. (Kudzu, anyone?) I love purple thistles, but only from a distance. I allow sunflowers to sprout from the birdseed that falls there. Could be a weed…to me it’s a fun symbol of the circle of the seed for the birds falling, growing into the flower, which makes more seed for more birds and more flowers! A friend came over last summer, looked out and saw the towering sunflowers and said “Oh how I love that English garden you have!” 😀

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rebecca June 11, 2012 at 2:18 pm

“It’s only a weed if you don’t want it there.” Wonderful. I’m remembering Laura Ingalls Wilder and the home they had in the Midwest. They brought in dandelions to cover their roof and it helped her find their home on the vast prairie. OK now tell me nice and slowly….what’s the secret to your accidental sunflowers?? 🙂

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