Last night we had another drive-by shooting in my neighbourhood. How many does that make? I’ve stopped counting. That’s how many. It’s over 30, I know that much.
As I ponder the latest incident, I look at my backyard and see the similarities.
A decade ago I purchased a container of wild flower seed mix from our local Costco. The photo on the front promised a variety of pretty blossoms and blooms. The seeds were sprinkled on a garden plot that already had some tried and true lovely shrubs and perennial favourites of mine. Neighbours who had bought the same seed blend a few years earlier told me that their experience wasn’t one they’d recommend and encouraged me to put in fewer plants and ones that were slower to grow . It was a small space after all.
I dismissed their concerns as an over reaction.
Over time the wild flower mix sprouted and grew, but soon it become clear that the results weren’t what I’d hoped for. The Morning Glory, one of 12 varieties of seeds in the batch was running amok. It was overtaking the other older and more established plants. It began creeping up the trunks of shrubs and bushes that for years had grown strong and unfettered. It was like a cancer that couldn’t be contained. An invasion that couldn’t be stopped.
After a while, nothing good remained, save the Morning Glory, choking everything in its path.
It spread and spread and destroyed everything good in my garden. I guess I should have nipped it in the bud, but I was focussed on other things at the time. Constructing a new patio and working on a major kitchen renovation were at the top of mind during that time. Before I knew it, the Morning Glory (really a weed) was unstoppable. Now it’s everywhere and has spread over the fence and into my neighbours’ yards as well. I try to pull out what I can, but it’s been left unchecked for so long I don’t know if it will ever be controlled. If only I’d been more diligent. If only I’d heeded the warnings of those who knew better than me. If only I’d removed this menace as soon as I saw it beginning to take root. Sure would’ve saved myself a lot of time, aggravation and money if I’d only paid attention to the problem when it first reared its ugly head.
Now I am literally reaping what I sowed.
And so it is with many facets of our complicated lives. When will we learn that preventing problems from taking root is the smarter choice; that paying attention at the first sign of trouble is a no brainer. That in the end, the best decision isn’t to ignore troubles but to anticipate and address them as they appear. Environmental, poverty, and crime issues can often be predicted and dealt with long before they reach a crisis point. That’s where we are now. At the tipping point.
As for me and my garden, I should have listened and acted long before I did. In the end, my garden would be healthier, prettier and more welcoming if only I’d paid more attention.