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Hidden Growth

Grass roots

I discovered something astonishing recently, and it’s influenced how I view creativity. It all started when Alan and I set out to create a peaceful habitat for bees and butterflies in our front yard.

For years, our huge cedar trees dropped fronds every fall, turning the soil in our yard too acidic for grass but perfect for weeds. We reached out to Backyard Habitat, and a yard consultant instructed us to cover our yard with cardboard and bark chips, what she called sheet mulching.

We cut open boxes and laid them out over our yard, which was soggy from the winter rain. We got a delivery of bark chips and hauled them by the bucketful to cover the cardboard. Tufts of tenacious weeds emerged in the spring.

Our yard consultant told us we did a great job, which was why there were so few weeds. Then she said, “Dig out the weeds and sheet mulch again.” 

We donned gardening gloves and dug out the weeds. Out of curiosity, I dug through the bark chips and peeled away some of the cardboard to peak beneath it. Whoa! I was not prepared for what I saw—the entire area beneath the cardboard was covered with an extensive network of shoots and roots. 

It got me thinking about how much happens unseen, and not just the invisible efforts of weeds. So much goes unseen within people. We grow and change on the inside, yet how often does it go unrecognized by other people? Then there is art. It takes tremendous effort to create art, yet we rarely see all that effort before the artwork is finished and ready to be viewed by the public.

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Hidden Growth

I discovered something astonishing recently, and it’s influenced how I view creativity. It all started when Alan and I set out to create a peaceful habitat for bees and butterflies in our front yard.

For years, our huge cedar trees dropped fronds every fall, turning the soil in our yard too acidic for grass but perfect for weeds. We reached out to Backyard Habitat, and a yard consultant instructed us to cover our yard with cardboard and bark chips, what she called sheet mulching.

We cut open boxes and laid them out over our yard, which was soggy from the winter rain. We got a delivery of bark chips and hauled them by the bucketful to cover the cardboard. Tufts of tenacious weeds emerged in the spring.

Our yard consultant told us we did a great job, which was why there were so few weeds. Then she said, “Dig out the weeds and sheet mulch again.” 

We donned gardening gloves and dug out the weeds. Out of curiosity, I dug through the bark chips and peeled away some of the cardboard to peak beneath it. Whoa! I was not prepared for what I saw—the entire area beneath the cardboard was covered with an extensive network of shoots and roots. 

It got me thinking about how much happens unseen, and not just the invisible efforts of weeds. So much goes unseen within people. We grow and change on the inside, yet how often does it go unrecognized by other people? Then there is art. It takes tremendous effort to create art, yet we rarely see all that effort before the artwork is finished and ready to be viewed by the public.