Tuesday, April 24, 2012


 This happy face was the first of the cosmos to bloom.

None of these plants were planted; they came up on their own from their parents' cast seeds or bulbs.

The cosmos' parents were from a six-pack that our local hardware was giving away last May; every Thursday, any woman shopping there could have a free six-pack of flower plants. I chose cosmos one week, and their seeds fell to the deck around the pool and were subsequently swept by Bernie to the no-man's land beneath the grape vine. This spring, the cosmos children leaped up in joy to have their own planting in the earth.

I gathered all the freesia bulbs from the disintegrated wine barrel that used to sit under the Japanese maple ... but missed some seed that opted to grow. Who could bear to tear them out? If they proliferate,  I can't deny them. One tiny stalk, yet they perfume the air around for ten feet or more.

 This creature is the image of its parent plant from last year, which was in itself a volunteer. I love nasturtiums, with their zesty smell (and you can eat them in salads) and bright colors, but they can get out of hand in their second and third generations. Red Splotch here has already traveled six feet in multiple directions, looking for optimum sunshine. I do admire its purposefulness and ingenuity, but am keeping a close eye on it so that it doesn't kill the Japanese maple or rip out the foundations of the house.

Life, in its beauty, does not have to be ordered, or orderly. Sometimes it is crazy productive, other times just has a little stage time to wave, do its tiny dance, and be  gone, committed to memory by a few fortunate admirers.

I try to remember that I'm one of those volunteers of the earth, too, that I was not cultivated to specially produce great super-market sized fruit or florist-quality proliferation of out-sized blooms. (Maybe my mother would stamp a foot in her failure to make me an astronaut, a neurosurgeon, or a Nobel Prize winner, but oh, well, Mom, I didn't want to sit in the fertilizer in the hothouse, after all.)

These poppies, which I never planted, but were on this land before I bought it, survive and grace our Springs each year with their gaiety, their color, and their will to survive, year after year. They produce seeds, and let them go; they don't worry about whether the seeds will get to the big garden, or just sprout from cracks in the brick deck.  I love them, and take heart in them, and call them sisters;  no one knew what I would become in my life, and maybe what I have become is simply a drifting volunteer, changing from season to season, what the climate decides is right.

My volunteers shout to me not to worry about the future, because what will grow in the earth next season is likely to have some tremendous beauty in it.

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