“Enthusiasm without knowledge is no good; haste makes mistakes.”
I’m a little embarrassed.
I mean, how many times did I tell myself I wouldn’t do it – only to do it?
Perhaps I should explain.
This March, I started some kangaroo apple plants from seed I had collected from – you guessed it – kangaroo apple plants. (If you don’t know what a kangaroo apple plant is, think large, tropical looking, purple flowers like a violet.)
Anyway, I planted out several of these charming plants this spring. The days were cool – and kangaroo apples, being from the wilds of Australia, like heat. It was also windy – wickedly so.
Within days of planting, two of seven had been broken right off at the ground.
A week or so later, I could see that one broken bitty plant was green at the base. It showed signs of life. It must have been planted deep enough that a growing point beneath the soil was still viable. It would be set back considerably, but it was alive.
A garden triumph to combat all the challenges goes down well.
Every time I was near to that precious teeny weeny spit of green, I was careful. ‘Don’t step on it!’ I would caution my clutzy self. ‘Don’t chop it!’ I would chide as I eased around it gently with a hoe.
I was careful.
I was a garden ninja.
Until the day I pulled it out by the roots.
I pulled it out by the roots.
In my defense, I thought it was a chunk of a vine I had previously removed. But –
I pulled it out by the roots.
After all it’s been through, I was the wild card, the factor that dispatched it mercilessly. Not hail. Not wind. Not pests. Not disease or drought or grasshoppers or a marauding deer or bouncing bunny.
When I pulled it it I noticed that it had potting soil, not regular garden soil, in the roots. And in my haste I barely even registered this odd little fact. If that fact had registered, I would have immediately realized that I had plucked a plant that had been started in a pot. And I would have known immediately what I had done and rectified it, replanting the poor wee hard-pressed and downtrodden seedling, watering it, nursing it back to health.
I just kept weeding.
See, my mind wasn’t on what I was doing.
In my enthusiasm to stop the weeds from gaining a foothold, I worked too fast.
Haste makes waste.
My efforts were mistaken.
If you know the secret to always being present, I mean really living and loving the moment you are in, let me know so I can rectify my habit of thinking about the next thing while I’m in the now.
This mistake was silly and regrettable, but certainly not earth shattering. The plant was started with my own seeds (can’t get any cheaper) and had given me the pleasure of a challenge and an opportunity to work with something green and alive all through the dingy months of March and April (cheap entertainment!) so the loss was a momentary feeling of stupidity and regret. I don’t like how the row looks with one obvious hope in it – but all things considered, it’s a minuscule mistake.
But when people are on the receiving end of my neglect, hurry, or distraction, that’s a biggie.
I want to act on the belief that those around me deserve my time and attention, that my presence and genuine care are of more value than my to-do list at the time.
Or what is coming next.
This little garden fiasco has reminded me that I am mistaken when I try to leap to what is next while doing or enjoying what is now.
This one is tricky for me.
But I’m willing to open myself to the possibility that I can – and need to – change.
Slow down and stay in the present with me?
Father, we get so distracted and stay in our heads, moving ahead of ourselves, where You have designed us to live in the moment, mindful of what we are doing, paying careful attention to the hearts of those around us. Help us to move further into mindfulness today. Amen.