Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Broken Places

This summer, the black-eyed susans were everywhere. Everywhere, that is, where they had never been before. Several years ago we got two plants, and now there were clumps of volunteers all over the place. Whether it was the birds or a stiff breeze or some unseen hand, we discovered them here, there and everywhere, in the most unusual places.

One of the more robust clumps was firmly entrenched in a crack in the driveway. I wondered how the heck it got there, but it wasn't saying. It just stood there, big and healthy in a tiny, hard space. I'm no master gardener, but to the best of my knowledge, driveway gardening has never been recommended by the experts, unless the plant lives in a pot filled with good soil that sits on or near the driveway. But never in it.

Even the crack was lacking. It wasn't a regular deeply-scored division of the cement. It was a jagged, ugly crack: a fissure in the cement that betrayed the fact that even this rock-hard surface wasn't strong enough to withstand the constant freezing and thawing of a Michigan winter.

But no matter. The Black-Eyed Susans thrived despite the lack of everything necessary for a plant. There was no space to grow and no dirt. And while the sun shone on it and the occasional breeze blew, more often than not those luxuries were obscured by an old rusty car and its belching exhaust pipe.

It was hardly ideal,
but somehow it was ideally hardy.
And a little bit of an inspiration.

We gathered up the Black-Eyed Susan volunteers and gave them a new home this summer. These little clumps of flowers that managed to live and thrive even when their home was nothing more than a crack in the driveway now enjoy a brand new flower bed at the front of the yard. They have good soil and room to grow. Right now they are looking very ragged because they were moved when the temperatures were high and we were desperate for rain. But if you walk past our yard and worry that these flowers are not going to make it, you need to remember there is strength and life beneath the soil. After all, they had grown in broken places. And as a wise woman once said, that takes strength and courage. Even for a flower.

Perhaps strength doesn't reside in
having never been broken
but in the courage required to grow strong
in the broken places.

Wisdom, artwork and inspiration courtesy of Soul Soup


Julie said...

You are braver than I ever knew. The broken pieces will mend and new flowers will grow. It just has to rain for a while.

Anonymous said...

and new flowers will pop up in places not imagined.
the boy.

ps - for instance, the dang squirrels (hate those beasties!) have over several days pulled down every coneflower stalk and gnawed off the heads. Never mind that they were still flowering.
But I have a glimmer of hope that by next summer, there will be coneflowers all over the neighborhood.
we'll see!