Magic in the Garden, Part 1
I am constantly amazed by the magic occuring just outside my back door. When I I step into the garden it's with a sense of childlike wonder. There's no need to conjure giant strawberries. I just need to look.
A tiny seed grows into a plant that will feed me all summer long. A flower unfurls to reveal a spiral of petals. Dew drops gild the intricate weaving of a spider's web.
You can't tell me that's not magical.
There's magic at an even more basic level: color, taste, fragrance... Each is amazing when you stop and think about it, when you pay attention.
I am constantly surprised and delighted in the garden and reminded how much there still is to learn. Observing the black swallowtail caterpillars this year has been such a joy, and a learning experience! Did you know that before they pupate these caterpillars create a silk thread harness to keep them attached to the branch? Can you spot it in this photo?
I'll share more about the caterpillars once the butterfly emerges from its chrysalis. (Fingers crossed that I'll be able to witness it).
Magic happens in the garden in other ways, too, like an anemone flower suddenly appearing in a pot of (summer-killed) ranunculus.
No doubt a mistake at the garden center, but magical nonetheless.
One year I had a squirrel plant a peanut in one of my houseplant pots. It sprouted inside at the end of winter. I repotted the peanut and ended up harvesting and roasting the nuts at the end of the season. Not something I would have ever thought of doing! Another year had potatoes sprout in my compost pile, one more gift from the universe.
I think when we're open to these bits of magic they occur more frequently. Or maybe we're just better at noticing them. This summer I was dumping kitchen scraps on our compost pile when I saw something green and growing in the corner of the pile. It was a begonia.
Some of the plants were purchased as annuals for the garden and brought inside at the end of the summer. Last autumn I brought in a few varieties of Begonia boliviensis. Very quickly they began to languish and then each of them collapsed into nothing in the way of children's thumb puppet toys. I left them on the windowsill for a while in case they might sprout back up, but nothing. They were very clearly dead. Because everything was frozen outside I emptied the pots into a tub in the basement, waiting to add the soil and roots to the compost pile come spring.
But apparently they weren't dead after all. The tubers were dormant and waiting for warmth and sun and rain to begin growing and blooming again.
These little plants could be a good lesson. Definitely a reminder to be open to grace, to joy, to magic. But also, as an encouragement not to give up. Don't give up, even when things look darkest. Sometimes we just need to wait for the next season to bloom again.