I hate the effin’ bamboo in my backyard. Yes, it makes me foul mouthed and foul tempered. If you’ve ever dealt with the monster, then you understand. Its firmly entrenched having been living there for two decades. I would have to literally take down the fence, destroy the deck, and bring in earth moving equipment to dig up my tiny yard, to get rid of it. It’s woven its evil tentacles under every square inch of this sliver of a garden space that is supposed to be my Zen garden.
So I have resigned myself to live with it. I just try to contain it. It’s growing season is usually 6 months. In the spring I can sit outside with a morning cup of coffee and come inside for a refill and by the time I return, there’s a stalk as tall as me growing between the deck boards. It’s now Halloween season and it’s scaring me because it won’t stop growing. I think it’s somehow involved with global warming and is conspiring to take over the world with it’s cousin, kudzu.
It had been a few weeks since I had gotten out there to prune it as it continued it’s relentless attempt to take over the world. As I’m stooped over cutting it out from beneath the garden rocks, I thought what are the life lessons I can learn from bamboo. As if on cue, I get back-to-back calls from my adult daughter and aging mother because they also need attending to.
Living with Bamboo
Deep roots help you survive adversity. My ex-husband planted the bamboo. He’s long gone, but what he planted is still here. Post divorce I stayed in the home we had built. My ex and I wanted our daughter to keep her home roots when her life was unsettled during this tumultuous time. My home has now been reinvented as my own creative oasis. My daughter has moved out and the effin’ bamboo is still here.
Accept things for what they are. Like bamboo, my daughter may annoy me at times. She operates in her own time frame, which is rarely the same as mine. Because she knows I love her unconditionally, she feels free to call me in the middle of the night because she’s locked her keys in her car with the engine running. I am not going to change her and she will continue to grow into adulthood. I can only change my own reaction to the things that annoy me. I also know that she is a smart, talented, beautiful woman who has a bright future in front of her and I’m grateful for having her in my life.
Things that bend with the wind are usually stronger than things that are inflexible. My 85-year–old mom is stronger than she realizes. She has created a full and happy life in a nursing home, no small accomplishment. Her age and frailty may bend her down at times, but her inner strength has her bouncing back after the storm passes. And calling me because she has broke the remote control again because she threw it at her 90-year-old boyfriend— that’s an easy problem to fix.
Find the gift in the problem. I have decided to live with this annoying weed that grows before my eyes. It is not worth the money and effort to get rid of it. My backyard fence travels along my neighbor’s driveway. They hate my effin’ bamboo which invades their yard too. Our homes are very close to each other. When I decided to embrace what I can’t get rid of, I allowed it to grow along the fence line. It helps diffuse visually how close my neighbors are. It also naturally filters the hot afternoon sun that would pour into my kitchen window.
Everything has it’s own beauty and grace. As much as I hate the effin’ bamboo, I must admit to the beauty of it when the sun streams through it’s leaves and it’s dappled light filters through. And the sound of the wind through its leaves along with the sound of the wind chimes, is soothing to my soul.
Some things thrive no matter where they’re planted. So while I still hate the effin’ bamboo, I know it‘s not a personal vendetta from God. Maybe there are lessons I am meant to learn.
Or maybe…I just need a panda bear.
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Connie, I effin love this! (And I love bamboo.) I think this was wise and beautifully written with lots of layers. My beautiful, creative friend, look up the meaning of bamboo in Chinese culture or in feng shui, if you haven’t already. In addition to being a source of great luck, beauty and happiness, it has a “peaceful and wise energy. It teaches the ultimate wisdom: how to be flexible and hollow (open) on the inside, so that the spirit can freely flow and heal your Being.” And I think you’ve learned (and as a creative will continue to learn) the power of flexibility.
Lisa, no matter how much you like bamboo, NEVER PLANT BAMBOO!
This is a fantastic piece. We have out of control bamboo in our backyard, too, which is driving my husband out of his mind. I’m definitely going to show him this, and maybe he’ll find the good in it!
Lois, there really is no good in bamboo.
I love your perspective! It’s great when you can take an annoyance and turn it into reflection. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks! I hope you never have an invading species in your yard!
Hi Connie…thanks for the heads-up on the bamboo. I’m another one who always thought it looked so great and would serve as a wonderful screen from neighbors. But as you’ve so eloquently put, everything comes at a price and it sounds like the maintenance is way-ay more “costly” than the benefits. Isn’t that the truth about everything? It’s always nice if you can contrast and compare the costs (spiritual, mental, emotional) before embarking on something new. And when you can’t–it’s equally wise to seek out the benefit that EVERYTHING contains. ~Kathy
Kathy, it is pretty and it is not worth the price!! I appreciate your comment.
it sounds pretty scary to me – like something out of a horror flick. One day, we’ll go to visit you at your home and there will be nothing left of our beloved Connie. it’ll all be taken over by the bamboo.Is it possible to get a Panda bear? Will the deer eat it? Yikes…. now I won’t be able to sleep 😀
Virginia, it is scary and ! think only panda bears eat it!! I’ve found it trying to get it the house. It is trying to get me.