Friday, April 1, 2011
copyright 2009 by Mimi Foxmorton
Ok...so I've discovered the Secret of the Universe.
No, really, I have.
As a fairly recent first time homeowner with the ability to make absolutely nothing of import rise from the soil I maintained an improbable three year quest to grow wild violets.
You see...I've been to the web sites. I know what they say about wild violets behind their backs. It isn't polite. Virtually everywhere I went there was page upon page of information on how to get rid of wild violets. Eradication with the vengeance of a super villain. And not a single site where I could actually order them.
Oh, some violets have their own society. And something called violas (second cousins thrice removed, I think) can be bought in pots from the nursery. But nary a place to be found that would help me to grow the flower of my dreams; the vile and savage violet.
It became almost taboo to ask how one would go about the growing of a lawn full of these wily, nefarious and apparently, to hear tell, just plain discourteous plants. Looks of horror would be followed by declarations regarding the plight of my sanity. To willfully sow such a thing appeared to be akin to criminal activity or, at the very least, Bedlamite lunacy.
But I didn't care. I love wild things. They make me feel free somehow. Airy and surreal. As though I belong to another time. Like any thing's possible and how weeds can be beautiful and maybe, just maybe things are going to be ok.
I remember my first encounter with a wild thing. Six or seven years old I stumbled across the most wondrous lacy white flower just growing, seemingly for miles, in a field. I still remember how I felt; as though I'd discovered a magical faerie land. My good fortune was unbelievable. Was it possible that only I knew of this enchantment?
Picking only one, least I offend the faeries, I ran back to the house to show my mother my secret discovery only to be promptly tossed back out the door with the admonition to get that "stink weed out the house right now!" Perception, it seems, being a notoriously personal thing. To say that I was disappointed to find my magic flowers were, in fact, stink weed is putting it delicately to say the very least. (This happened again with Spring trillium but I wisely decided to stay in the cool woods and play bride by myself.)
Years later I stumbled across the very flower in a garden magazine and found it named Queen Anne's Lace. Ah-ha! Suddenly I was vindicated! And thus began my quest for the Wild Thing.
Turns out that senior citizens are a wealth of information on Where To Get Things and luckily I'm a senior event coordinator in my Other Life.
A single lunch time plea netted me three huge boxes of the coveted plant the very next day. In full bloom. I couldn't believe how beautiful they were. Giant clumps of heavily flowered, deep purple violets hanging from delicate, long green stems, just waiting to dwell with me.
But I was compelled to ask: Why? I begged to know. Why was it that absolutely no one wanted a yard full of wild violets? Was there something I didn't know? Would these innocent looking plants sneak through my bedroom window and strangle me in the night? Did they sing show tunes, poorly, when you were trying to nap?
Why can’t one have a lawn carpeted with the wild violet?
It was at that point that a senior gentleman offered what would turn out to be the most important words I had ever been given upon which to reflect: "Because," he confided with a sage nod and a matter-of-fact tone. "Because it isn't grass."
And there it was. The Secret of the Universe: Because It Isn't.
Because, once upon a time, someone said it should be so.
And so that's the way it is.
No shocking reason. No horrifying revelation. It just wasn't
what it ought to be.
And that, it seems, is good enough.
But I intend to change that, me and my Wild Things.
I intend to embrace the things that Aren't.
The things that Shouldn't Be.
And I intend to change the secret to the Universe...one Wild Thing at a time.
Next year I'm starting a thistle garden.
Mimi Foxmorton is a pirate by blood by nature and by choice and embraces imagination and the Wild Things. She is also a children’s theatre director and senior citizen coordinator. She was adopted from an orphanage in Heidelberg, Germany and thinks her Book of Rules, the one that is apparently handed out at birth, got lost in the move.