Life is always ready to teach us a special lesson of some sort or another, if only we would take the time to notice and learn.
The street I live on in Tokyo is so narrow, that cars can barely traverse from top to bottom. Because of this, a system for lining up everyone’s bicycles on one side of the street is necessary and important. My wife, my daughter, and myself, park our bicycles across the street in front of my neighbor’s house. To me it seems unfair for my neighbor to have all this clutter in front of his house, but so be it. My neighbor’s house sits one foot nine inches from the curb. Pretty cozy, isn’t it?
Eight years ago, an innocuous looking weed-tree began growing right next to where I park my bike. You might think that a single weed-tree growing where my bike sits is not a big deal but let me explain.
This little weed-tree started life in a humble manner, sprouting up in a crack between the sidewalk and the wall. Initially it seemed too trivial to pay attention to or pull out, and initially I even cheered it on while marveling at what a hardy pioneer it was.
The little monster grew quite rapidly from day one, and after about six months it was wrapping itself around the front wheel of my bike and birds were coming to rest on it. All of this activity led to bird droppings on my bike seat, which led me to take out my pruning scissors and cut the darn thing about six inches above ground level.
Ignoring the weed in the first place was my first mistake. Cutting it down six inched above ground level was my second. It grew back with a vengeance! In no time at all it had more branches than before, and the base coming out of the crack became more tree like. Foolishly, I was lax again in my approach, and within a couple of months, bird droppings started winding up on my bike seat again.
This time around, needing hedge clippers to get the job done, I cut the weed-tree down as close to the sidewalk as possible, and I must say that I had a sense of “Good riddance!” when I did so.
Well, I think it was the very next morning, or two days at the most, when I went outside to find the bloody thing sprouting new growth. This time I quickly dug away at it with a small shovel, but I couldn’t unearth it, and sure enough, new growth quickly answered the call to arms.
At this point I was beginning to concede a shift in the balance of power. Regardless of my superior education and specialized negotiation skills, the weed-tree was prevailing.
What to do?
I knew by now that there was only one viable course of action. First, I found a new place to park my bike. Next, I went out and purchased some plant food and liberally watered and fed the weed-tree every day. My little beauty grew gloriously and I soon began to lovingly trim it into a “bonsai” shape!
Some years later it is looking truly gorgeous!
Two questions come to my mind, and I wonder if they come to yours as well.
1. What is it that makes weeds so incredibly strong and resilient, while other cultivated plants often so easily wither away and die?
2. Can a weed that is nurtured, praised, and pruned, still be considered to be a weed?
2. Isn’t life much grander once we realize that so much of what goes on is not under our control?
I only hope my spirit, can be half as strong as the tree that has offered itself to me.