“No mockery in this world ever sounds so hollow as that of being told to cultivate happiness. What does such advice mean? Happiness is not a potato, to be planted in mold and tilled with manure.” –Lucy Snowe, in Charlotte Bronte’s Villette
It happened off-season. Before the ground was tilled or seeds scattered, this gorgeous weed popped up with her broad leaves sheltering her secret, preposterous abundance. Any good gardener would yank it out, but I am not a good gardener. I am an intuitive gardener, a reactive gardener, a hopeful waterer of an asymmetrical mess of green. I love this weed and her ridiculous fruit; I love her crowding roots and reaching stems; I love the creatures that make their nests where stem and stem meet.
Funny plant, she shot up in a garden box—a place intended for intention. She put out runners soon after the first green shoots burst through the rocky soil. There is no training her; she wildly climbs outside and over into other boxes, through the chickenwire and the yard, into the untamed woods.
I have seen my neighbors curse her, chop at her infinite arms, fear for their delicate cultivations. I understand (there’s barely room for the potato plants). But she reached her spindly vine right into my heart and took root there, as fast as one sweet evening rainfall. His, too. We are part of this jungle of a garden box; we don’t dare pinch the stems and pull her out. When it doesn’t rain, we water.
So this is what happiness is: growth that laughs at cultivation but loves a good dousing of hope.
The synchrobloggers are pondering whether happiness is not a potato.