This morning I took the dogs for a walk in the deer pasture overlooking our house. We don’t cultivate the acreage specifically for the deer who feed in it. They just show up daily for the grass and other tender bits. We keep a path mowed through it throughout the year, but its body is wild and ragged until we bush-hog it in the early fall.
Each time I take the dogs up there, I think that I should take pictures of it every day to have a visual record of how it changes. But if I did, I would miss that lovely feeling of surprise that comes over me when I see something new. This summer has been a particularly fruitful time because of all the late spring and midsummer rain. There are even a few new trees, already several feet high, that we’ll have to make a decision about. The woods are dense around the pasture–trees aren’t exactly at a premium.
What I love about the pasture is its passionate, playful aggression. It’s consistently thick with new life that strains at the mowed path, overhanging it, threatening to take it over. When we first bought the land, it was completely covered with bramble bushes. It was astonishing how those bushes had taken hold of the field. It took almost two years to drive them back into the edges of the woods, which they now border like a thorny fence. Blackberries, mostly. They keep the birds busy. Without the brambles, just about anything can grow, grasses and wildflowers and weeds alike. Most of the plants are three or four feet high. The whole field breathes with life and possibilities.
These disparate plants make me think of all the choices that fill my life. So much variety. So many unique possibilities. In the way it would be difficult for me to pick one of these amazing plants to be my favorite, I sometimes find it almost impossible to define a single thing I’m passionate about at any given time. Writing? Parenting? Gardening? Cooking? Reading? Each of these activities brings me so much happiness. I envy people who have a single, driving passion that propels them from the bed each morning and leaves them exhausted with satisfaction at the end of the day.
Have you found that kind of passion in your life?
Here’s a piece from the always-edifying Zen Habits blog. It describes how we can discover our passion through doing everything…and nothing. While it doesn’t address the subject of multiple passions, it’s a terrific reminder of the richness of life and how blessedly simple it can be.