The following is a fascinating story by Stuart M.Perkins on the fine art of molding individuals instead of tossing them aside as trash not worth our time. It has provided much food for thought since I first read it months ago and I’m sure if you read it too you can see why. Enjoy!
A longtime friend commented during dinner that her next door neighbor’s son was on the path to nowhere and constantly in trouble. She thought herself clever referring to him as “a weed in the garden of life”. Although an avid fan of barbed words and wit, I found her comment harsh directed at a kid who was barely a teenager. He was dismissed and labeled as worthless. A weed.
“But maybe he’s a pokeweed!” I said in a positive tone.
She rolled her eyes. I recognized the look of resignation on her face. The look many of my friends have when I spit out a puzzling one-liner and they know a story is coming. She sipped her drink and grinned, arms crossed in silent permission for me to proceed.
Years ago I had a yard packed with plants. It was full of boxwoods, azaleas, and geraniums surrounding a dogwood centerpiece. A problem area at one end of the garden saw pokeweeds sprout thickly every spring. I chopped them back, broke them off, stomped them down, but still they sprouted. I finally spent a day digging up the massive roots and unceremoniously dumped them in the woods.
The very next weekend I was in the woods again to dump my centerpiece dogwood which had spent two years dying a slow death until I finally cut it down. I noticed that some of the pokeweed roots dumped a week earlier had sprouted while simply lying in the open air.
A week later, back in the woods to dump grass clippings, I saw that all of the sprouting pokeweeds had died except for one scrawny stem with two leaves. It leaned feebly towards the light. I pondered the struggle of that weed and impressed by its determination, I picked up the withering root and took it with me. In the hole where my dogwood had once grown I replanted the weed. Right in the center of my garden.
In only two days the frail sprout became sturdy and turned a darker green. I watered the pokeweed daily and even fertilized the baby beast. It took off.
When friends dropped by they told me, as though I didn’t know, that I had a weed growing in the center of my garden.
“Why are you leaving that there?”
“What’s that doing in your garden?”
“What is that awful thing?”
“It’s my pokeweed.” I responded each time.
My grandmother loved to garden and I learned all I know from her. Nannie said about various plants in her own garden, “It’s only weed if you don’t want it.”
I wanted this pokeweed.
Summer passed and the pokeweed grew. And grew. It was soon taller than me.
Originally posted here: https://storyshucker.wordpress.com/2015/04/08/tend-the-garden/
Contents compiled: August 29 2015 | Originally published: September 6 2015 | Copyright 2015 Moylom Enterprises