|Cover of The Shack|
I just learned a new word: fractal. Do you know what it means? According to Sarayu in The Shack a fractal is “something considered simple and orderly that is actually composed of repeated patterns no matter how magnified. A fractal is almost infinitely complex.” Sarayu uses the word to describe her garden which according to Mack the main character is better described as “a mess”. When I read this description, I decided it was a great description of the current state of my garden as well.
You see in the spring my garden is orderly with plants growing in carefully arranged plots. By this time of year however, I’ve usually got some renegade plants that have taken over and what used to be orderly now has a chaotic but lush look to it. Here’s a few shots of my fractal mess of a garden:
Looks sort of over grown and messy right? Well most of that is due to a volunteer watermelon vine that sprang up. It cropped up on it's own and has grown unchecked for a month or so now. This was all great until it started to take over first my green peppers, then my tomato plants and finally it has virtually covered my rose plants. Lately I've begun wondering if it is indeed a watermelon vine and not kudzu in disguise. The other annoying thing about the vine is that despite lots of yellow flowers there seem to be no baby watermelons adorning it. Finally last weekend after a nice rainfall I decided to start pulling the vine off my beleaguered rose and tomato plants and perhaps just end the chaos altogether. Just as I was pulling the vines off the roses, I happened to look a little more closely at the vine wrapped around the tomato cage and here's what I saw:
Can you make it out? Here's another shot:
You guessed it... a baby watermelon that is literally dangling suspended off the ground inside a tomato cage. Can you believe it? I almost destroyed the vine and watermelon in my effort to bring order to my fractal mess of a garden.
There's a lesson in here somewhere for all of us control freaks who try to manage every aspect of our lives, relationships, careers, you name it. Sometimes you just have to learn to live with the fractal messiness of life in order to find it's blessings. Creativity and growth happens in the midst of messes. I have to remind myself of this all the time. I almost lost the watermelon because I was so keen on getting my garden back under control. Are there places in your life that needed to be messy in order for you to grow and produce? I'm learning a valuable lesson about this from my own life.