During its three summers of existence, my backyard garden continually surprises me. Flowers spread out and pop up in unexpected places. Plants that I thought had died resurrect the following spring. A basil plant shows up in a metal container in the middle of a group of calendula. The brown eyed Susan patch forms a huge heart.
As I was working in the garden a couple of weeks ago, I reached for a weed that had sprouted near the fence. I hesitated. The plant looked suspiciously familiar. Pinching off a leaf I sniffed it. The distinctive scent of tomato filled my nostrils.
A volunteer tomato? I haven’t grown tomatoes in my backyard for more than 20 years. Where did this plant come from? Last year, I had a volunteer gooseberry bush start in the same spot. I either have a magical plot of ground in my garden…or this spot is perfectly placed for the birds that fly over. Birds eat seeds, fruit and veggies…and then they poop. I believe I’ve been graced with a healthy tomato plant that arrived via bird poop!
I long ago recognized that my garden symbolizes life. There are surprises and unexpected offerings along the path of life too. And sometimes, doo doo shows up. However, just as in my garden, I can look at these surprises as gifts to delight me or annoyances to trouble me. Something wonderful can even grow out of a poopy situation. It’s all dependent on how I view what’s going on.
And I choose to see the good in all situations and the unexpected surprise as a unique opportunity to expand my thinking and my heart. In the case of the mysterious tomato plant, dotted now with tiny yellow blooms that will turn into fruit, I say “thank you” to the bird who left this particular surprise. I accept the gift. And the lesson.