Sunday, June 12, 2011

Two Pale and Spindly Tulips

These pale, spindly things you see below are tulips. I discovered them while digging out a flower bed amid the vast expanse of gravel in my back yard. After I removed the gravel and lifted the plastic, my heart actually wrenched at the sight of them. For over a year, they had been buried under the crushing weight of several inches of pea gravel and heavy, black plastic. But that didn’t seem to deter them from doing what they were meant to do – grow.

Two tiny tulips that were growing under heavy, black plastic and several inches of gravel.

I doubt that they will amount to much more than what you see here. They should have already bloomed by now. But what amazing fortitude. No sun light. Not much moisture. No air. And still they tried. I can’t imagine the struggle, but I’m in awe of the power of nature to overcome such cruel adversity and not give up.

Not long before I found the tulips, I was ready to give up. I was cursing and swearing. Every time the plastic would rip and the gravel would spill through the new hole from my shovel, I would groan in frustration. Whenever I looked at my work and realized how little I had done so far in comparison to how much I have yet to do, my aggravation soared to ever-higher levels. Then just when I was about to throw in the shovel, so to speak, these two tulips gave me an entirely different perspective. If they could keep going, so can I.

I believe that things happen for a reason. It seems to me that it is rather synchronous that the previous owner provided the very material I need to realize a long-held dream; to build a labyrinth. At the same time, the challenge of taking that material and using it to make the dream come true, is, to say the least overwhelmingly overwhelming. I’m relying entirely on intuition in my efforts. I don’t know if my plan is going to work, but something keeps pushing me forward. Like these two striving tulips.

The plan is to save as many of the beautiful plants that are scattered throughout the yard as I can. In order to move the gravel efficiently, I’m going to need some help and I’ve decided that the best help will be to hire a bobcat to come in and move it for me. The problem is that there is no way that a bobcat can do that with all those plants in the way, so they have to be moved. There is nowhere to move them to, so I have to create places for them. Thus the manual digging out and making of garden beds so a bobcat can work around them safely. I hope.

For the last two days I’ve been shovelling gravel and piling it up at the side of the house in order to open a space to move some of the plants to. My back and shoulders are aching and my hands are dry and mud-stained. I’ve had too many encounters with worms and bees and errant gravel falling back into places that I don’t want it to be. I want to curl up on the couch with a book or a movie, instead of hefting wheel barrows full of rock from one place to another. I also want a nice yard with a labyrinth.

This yard thing seems to be a new journey for me. I have no map, only a vague notion of what the destination will look like. My only guide is my belief in the dream of making a labyrinth and the intuitive voice in my head egging me on. And these tulips are clearly a sign that I cannot give up. I cannot stop just because it would be easier. I cannot let this dream slip away.

I can, however, summon patience and discipline and determination and keep going. I can take each small step on this journey with grace and gratitude. I can do this. I will do this. The pain will pass. The fatigue will pass. The sense of accomplishment, though, will be something that will last a long time.

Amazing, isn’t it, how two pale and spindly tulips can teach such a profound lesson?



  1. Assuming you're not doing this all on your own - how's it going with the help? Keep on keeping on - I know you can do it!

  2. Help it sporatic, but that's okay. People have lives. I'll just keep keeping on, as you say. I'm committed now! LOL


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