I tore at the dirt with hands and spade, pulling out clump after clump of daffodil bulbs almost angrily. What a waste, I thought. Who needs flowers in the soil when one could grow herbs and lettuces, zucchini and beans? Someone planted all this beauty that is in the way of all my productivity.
It’s the indignity of need and desperation–to tell you that utility trumps beauty. What good purpose does beauty serve, anyway? What good purpose?
And so I felt virtuous and proud, eliminating all those wasteful flower bulbs and filling the soil with vegetables and herbs instead. I had chosen the more sensible, practical thing. Surely this would be more life-giving.
I’m reminded of those planting days every time I see daffodils pushing through soil. To think of it now, I chuckle a bit at my foolishness. Chuckle and also mourn, because it’s a narrative I still find myself listening to sometimes. Yes, there is still the need for lettuces and beans, zucchini and herbs. But let there be space for beauty. For flowers that make our hearts sing. For color and scent that exist for nothing else but to be enjoyed.
Let there even be space for fallow ground and weed, emptiness and void. Not everything must be about producing.