Untended

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.

4 thoughts on “Untended”

  1. Hey beautiful,
    Thanks for this great blog post! I agree with the whole less is more thing to the point where I refuse to say I’m busy. It’s not a good way to be, and I try and not indulge in that way of looking at my life, whether I’m at a dead standstill or overscheduled. I get the most pleasure out of simple things (simple mind that I am!) and am trying to avoid things that are ego-fulfilling but ultimately time wasters while still being open to experiences that I’m not sure I’ll like, but might be good for me. It’s a tough balance, but I’m sure I’ll have it in oh, say fifty more years. 🙂 xo

  2. Absolutely gorgeous. I love wild, overgrown gardens and yours looks like a place I could find a spot and write for hours and hours.

  3. Daniel says:

    Wonderful post, Laura. And I loved looking at the photos. Like you, I’m astounded by plants such that I’m loathe to yank out a weed, believing that so long as they don’t overtake the garden and kill what I intentionally planted there, they have as much right to live and are as mysterious as anything else that sprouts and burgeons.

    Dan

  4. Your troll. You walked it, you took from it, you gave to it, and you returned. I woke breathing this morning, before midnight knowing that I will walk though the night, return to the day, take from the night, it will give something to me. I will return something to it and the “plants” I encounter on the journey are just where they belong.

    No driving involved. It has taken me decades to know that all good and evil is a simple blossom on a plant being born. Those are the drivers being handed the keys. my feet hurt but I still prefer the walk. It is easier to know and see what surrounds the movement.

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