Yesterday at Rivoli Park Labyrinth, I met up with a riotous party of plants, insects, and birds.
The park, which formed on a vacant lot thanks to community organizer Lisa Boyles, has gotten overgrown this rainy summer—but it is also a haven for life.
Some plants we call weeds and others we call ornamentals. Some we consider natives, wildflowers, edibles, or another elevated status. Some we designate as invasive, others as desirable.
What I realized yesterday: These divisions are more important to humans than the rest of nature, which seeks its own balance.
The plants called “weeds” are the ones we pull out. Still, the grasshoppers, bees, and spiders find food and shelter on plants of all stripes. They are the epitome of nonjudgment, our guides in an insectile anti-labeling initiative.
So often I am quick to judge something good or bad.
Just now I went to strike that sentence, gauging it too trite! As testament to my new commitment to allowing things to be messy and imperfect, I am leaving it there.
Lisa and I talked about this very thing: In my writing, I declared my intent to finish my book while letting go of the need for it to be “perfect, balanced, and comprehensive.” Lisa swept her arm toward the “weedy” labyrinth and said, “Here’s living proof that a project doesn’t have to be perfect—just look at it!”
What I saw: voluptuous plants abuzz with happy pollinators. Abundant living entities in ongoing conversation, all encircling the glorious hibiscus at the center. The idea of perfection doesn’t really apply when we’re partnering with life, does it? So it can be with writing.
I told Lisa that the labyrinth didn’t have to reach some ideal in order to be a marvelous contribution to the community. Uh, hello. Maybe I should write that down and stick it on my computer monitor.
Repeat after me: We don’t have to reach some ideal in order to be a marvelous contribution!
I think that non-native invasive plant species should be eliminated for many reasons.
There are a lot of good reasons to keep them in check, for sure!
I get your message, Shawndra. Totally see the need for stewardship that includes culling invasive species that threaten to take over, but the force of nature is quite wise and I can also thoroughly appreciate a “weed!” I’ve been writing on a related theme about what we call “nature,” (which of course, we are a big part of!) and how it’s important that we pay attention to it even in spaces that are not often recognized as “nature spaces”: http://fpnaturalist.com/2015/08/19/preserves-and-professional-parks/