Scars in the Landscape


Cindy Christie

When I stand before thee at the dayís end, thou shalt see my scars and know that I had my wounds and also my healing. - Rabindranath Tagore


          I spend all summer carefully tending my lawns. Watering and seeding, fertilizing, mowing, and edging. I love my yards. I have acquired quite a collection of gardening tools and machines. I compete (in my head) with all the gentlemen and lady gardeners who live in the neighborhood to see who can create the plushest living carpet on the block.

          Recently we had our sprinkler system completely redone in both the front and the back yards. My husband had convinced me that the system I had, with which I was completely satisfied, was archaic, worn out, and in need of replacing. Grudgingly I agreed to let the sprinkler man renovate my system.

          Sprinkler Man was going to remove my old system, pipes and all, and replace it with a more modern construction, with sprinklers located only in the corners of the lawn instead of interspersed throughout. They would work in a swivel action, rotating back and forth, watering a much larger area than the pop up variety. I was wary of this new method, not because it wasnít a better way, but because it was unfamiliar to me. I didnít know how to adjust the direction of the sprinklers or the spray and due to my personality traits, I preferred to do things in the comfortable, tired, tried and true way I had always done.

          To do the renovations, he had to dig long trenches through my yards wherever the old pipes were located to remove them, and even more trenches to introduce the pipes for the new system. Walking out to inspect his work, I was shocked. My beautiful, lush lawn looked like a war had been fought in it. No longer uniform, my yards were trampled under, muddied, torn. It was a mess and I was angry. It was too late to stop the progress that was already underway, so I had no choice but to grit my teeth and watch all my efforts being ruined.

          After the work was complete, it was my job to begin to repair the damage. I reseeded the ugly scars of dirt patterned through the yard, planted some flower seeds in the beds that had been unearthed, and began my watering schedule. The lawn was dreadful, but I was patient and waited for nature to take over and put things right. It took some time, but slowly the grass started to come up and little flower stalks began to emerge from the ground. Finally, I had to admit that the new system was an improvement and that the temporary destruction was worth it. As I look back now, the damage had looked worse than it had actually been.

          Our lives are like this. Things happen to us that arenít in line with what we would like or expect, or tragedy strikes us so hard that we feel irreparably scarred, unsure that we will ever recover. Changes come marching through our lives, usually at a time when we are ill equipped to handle them. But we do survive, with time our scars heal, and we are ultimately made the better for it. Oftentimes, the new circumstances are far better than the old, familiar routines. We must be willing to see past the events that appear to ravage us, gaze towards the future to see what the outcome can be. Do not become dispirited. Have the courage to reseed your life and replant the flowers of you heart.

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