Counterpoise

In Sydney Eddison’s Gardening for a Lifetime, I came across “Lessons from the Garden: Accepting Imperfection.” That’s really what life is about, isn’t it?  While rare fleeting moments can be perfect, most of life, especially in the garden, is imperfection itself. 

In my garden, I have found brief occasions when everything is in a state of perfect balance.  The Phlox stand tall, unattacked by some new insect or powdery mildew. Sun, wind and rain have spared the Peonies fragile blooms.  The petunias and hollyhocks are at their peak, the yellow center of a coneflower picks up the vibrant yellow in the Coryopsis. 

Never mind those occasions (far too many of them) when everything seems to lie in ruins, burned by the sun or smashed by the wind.  Never mind the young woman who says, “Looking good,” as she rides by on her bike. (“What does that smarty pants New Yorker know anyway,” I think.)  I can see what’s wrong here in my garden, or not, depending on my state of mind.  With age, hopefully, comes enlightenment.  You come to appreciate the ‘not perfect’, such as leaves in the garden.  Never mind those times when a plant seems out-of-place, too tall or too small.  Or, perhaps it is badly placed, in an area formerly sunny and now shady. The poor darling flops on its side, trying to catch the sun’s rays. “I’ll move that plant as soon as the weather grows a bit cooler,” I think to myself, knowing full well, that cool weather will not arrive for at least 6-8 more weeks. 

Indeed, the one lesson every gardener learns is that perfection when it happens (and it does) is fleeting, so treasure it. Ben Johnson, friend of Shakespeare once said, “in short measures, life may perfect be.”

As I grow older, I am better able to appreciate imperfection in the garden.  I now see asymmetry as beautiful. 

Look for those perfect moments when beauty hangs in the balance and treasure them, but treasure also those less than perfect moments when anything that can go wrong does, and find beauty there too.   

8 thoughts on “Counterpoise

  1. Well, these pictures certainly captured perfection, Dianne. Life is certainly like that. When there is perfection you have to stop and appreciate it, savor it, love it, because it is fleeting. It reminds me of the cherry blossoms and why they are so loved.

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  2. I need that attitude. Right now I see all the damage the blistering heat has caused and I feel like I need to do something drastic, but know right now, time is my friend and will eventually restore balance. Your garden looks quite lovely and healthy.

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    • It is so difficult now for so many. These hollyhock photo is from last year. I had to pull up all the baby hollyhocks owing to the insect that attacked my garden and is even eating the Sedum. Watering like crazy now just to keep things alive.

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  3. Thanks for coming to my blog. We were gone for 10 days and I did not read any blogs so I am trying to catch up. Your garden must be very pretty. We have so many pine trees that we cannot plant much. We did plant some flowers in pots but while we were gone some animal ate all the flowers – to the roots. Now the squirrels are taking bath in the soil of the pots. They are having a great time, but I miss the flowers.

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  4. Origins of Stempunk. Wikipedia says it best, I quote: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steampunk

    “Although many works now considered seminal to the genre were published in the 1960s and 1970s, the term steampunk originated in the late 1980s as a tongue in cheek variant of cyberpunk. It seems to have been coined by science fiction author K. W. Jeter, who was trying to find a general term for works by Tim Powers (The Anubis Gates, 1983); James Blaylock (Homunculus, 1986); and himself (Morlock Night, 1979, ”

    So hope it is a little cooler there now.

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  5. Right now, all I can think about is food. Ever noticed that cakes must be measured exactly or it will flop? Whereas, one has more leeway when cooking meats and vegetables.

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