In my garden there are several volunteer squash plants. I’m a first time gardener, so rather than wisely thinning them out, I’ve delighted in their wish to become an edible harvest in my little garden and have left every single one. If you are a gardener you know how this ends. While I was not paying attention, the sweet little squash plants have mutinied and taken over two entire beds, I only have three, and a whole wall of the garden fence. I can no longer see the beets, cucumbers, cosmos, snap peas, carrots and nasturtiums that used to claim residence.
But that’s another story. This story goes back to early June when I first saw two little squash plants growing out of the compost along the garden wall. I was thrilled. Upon closer examination I noticed that one “plant” was actually made up of 15-20 tiny plants clustered together and the other was a single sprout, all by itself. It was suggested that I thin out that cluster in order to have a healthier plant, but I just couldn’t do it. They were striving to live, reaching for the sun and they all deserved a chance, who was I to determine their worthiness of growing big and strong. No plant left behind.
As the weeks past, I reluctantly took note that the single sprout was thriving and the cluster, while alive, was small and frail, smaller as a group than the single, thriving sprout.
I couldn’t shake the idea of enough space. These plants have become a profound metaphor for me on the power of giving something or someone enough space to thrive. Enough space to spread out their wings, enough space to be sun drenched, enough space to be nourished enough to grow into their full potential. See, the other plants, the cluster, are alive and growing but at a fraction of the size and luster of the plant with all that space.
As a mother, I keep thinking of children and this visual difference between having enough and not having enough and what that means for their future and their potential, their self esteem. How can we thrive without enough…safety, food, space, room to grow, love? I keep thinking too about true space…space to make mistakes and have autonomy.
As a women, I keep thinking of my own life and the myriad of ways that I limit my own space…in order to please others, in order to not offend another with the shining of my light, in order to keep myself small out of fear, fear of not being loved as my greatest self.
As a maker and a dreamer, I keep thinking of all the times I’ve not given ideas and projects their proper space out of impatience and excitement. Slow fashion, hand sewing and natural dyes are helping with that, but I’ve got a ways to go. I’m striving to be patient and allow the flow of life without forcing it or pushing it along.
So while, my family will be eating only squash all year long, I’m grateful for the daily meditation on the power of enough space every time I wend my way through the garden jungle.