On Memorial Day weekend 2009, I planted a prairie. It’s custom to give presents to the one having the birthday, but in this case, the gifts I see as I celebrate my prairie’s first full year have all come to me. Gifts like patience, time with nature, and an understanding of who’s in charge.
Crab grass abounded last year. I attempted to control it. To no avail. In spite of all that crab grass, prairie plants are everywhere this year. My anxiety about what was or was not growing mattered not in the least. My efforts to identify each plant gave me something to occupy the time while I waited and watched, but for a novice like me, truly identifying a plant will have to wait until I can see the flowers. Maybe this year. Maybe next.
Go away and come back in three years. This was the advice of a prairie veteran. As spring unfolded this year and I watched the prairie emerge, I have thought often of the wisdom of his words. A prairie takes time. A prairie can look pretty messy in the process. A prairie may arrive in a way we don’t expect. Just like people. Just like me.
Some of the plants are getting ready to blossom. Some are still very small; they may or may not blossom this year. Where are my seven-foot prairie grasses? I haven’t a clue.
Ultimately, the prairie is going to do what it is going to do. And I can be patient, watch and learn. Or if that’s not possible, I can go away and come back in three years. Even though in year one, the prairie revealed my tendency to obsessive-compulsive disorder, I’m going to enjoy year two. The gifts my prairie is giving me are just too good to pass up.