I hate the effin’ bamboo in my backyard. Yes, it makes me foul mouthed and foul tempered. If you’ve ever dealt with the monster, then you understand. Its firmly entrenched having been living there for two decades. I would have to literally take down the fence, destroy the deck, and bring in earth moving equipment to dig up my tiny yard, to get rid of it. It’s woven its evil tentacles under every square inch of this sliver of a garden space that is supposed to be my Zen garden.
So I have resigned myself to live with it. I just try to contain it. It’s growing season is usually 6 months. In the spring I can sit outside with a morning cup of coffee and come inside for a refill and by the time I return, there’s a stalk as tall as me growing between the deck boards. It’s now Halloween season and it’s scaring me because it won’t stop growing. I think it’s somehow involved with global warming and is conspiring to take over the world with it’s cousin, kudzu.
It had been a few weeks since I had gotten out there to prune it as it continued it’s relentless attempt to take over the world. As I’m stooped over cutting it out from beneath the garden rocks, I thought what are the life lessons I can learn from bamboo. As if on cue, I get back-to-back calls from my adult daughter and aging mother because they also need attending to.
Living with Bamboo
Deep roots help you survive adversity. My ex-husband planted the bamboo. He’s long gone, but what he planted is still here. Post divorce I stayed in the home we had built. My ex and I wanted our daughter to keep her home roots when her life was unsettled during this tumultuous time. My home has now been reinvented as my own creative oasis. My daughter has moved out and the effin’ bamboo is still here.
Accept things for what they are. Like bamboo, my daughter may annoy me at times. She operates in her own time frame, which is rarely the same as mine. Because she knows I love her unconditionally, she feels free to call me in the middle of the night because she’s locked her keys in her car with the engine running. I am not going to change her and she will continue to grow into adulthood. I can only change my own reaction to the things that annoy me. I also know that she is a smart, talented, beautiful woman who has a bright future in front of her and I’m grateful for having her in my life.
Things that bend with the wind are usually stronger than things that are inflexible. My 85-year–old mom is stronger than she realizes. She has created a full and happy life in a nursing home, no small accomplishment. Her age and frailty may bend her down at times, but her inner strength has her bouncing back after the storm passes. And calling me because she has broke the remote control again because she threw it at her 90-year-old boyfriend— that’s an easy problem to fix.
Find the gift in the problem. I have decided to live with this annoying weed that grows before my eyes. It is not worth the money and effort to get rid of it. My backyard fence travels along my neighbor’s driveway. They hate my effin’ bamboo which invades their yard too. Our homes are very close to each other. When I decided to embrace what I can’t get rid of, I allowed it to grow along the fence line. It helps diffuse visually how close my neighbors are. It also naturally filters the hot afternoon sun that would pour into my kitchen window.
Everything has it’s own beauty and grace. As much as I hate the effin’ bamboo, I must admit to the beauty of it when the sun streams through it’s leaves and it’s dappled light filters through. And the sound of the wind through its leaves along with the sound of the wind chimes, is soothing to my soul.
Some things thrive no matter where they’re planted. So while I still hate the effin’ bamboo, I know it‘s not a personal vendetta from God. Maybe there are lessons I am meant to learn.
Or maybe…I just need a panda bear.
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