As the few garden crops I’ve cultivated — tomatoes and kale and spinach — spend themselves and begin to bolt, I’ve been meandering around my yard investigating what Mother Nature planted without any input from me. There’s something different every year, and always a bit of delight: Having not been in on the sowing, I am surprised at the variety of the yield, some of which becomes evident only in late summer.
Often, there are sunflowers, sown and grown by an improbable succession of events: a bird or squirrel dropping the seed from a feeder, the impression of my footfall or theirs to secure it in the hard clay soil, the right combination of rain and sun. And then, this:
Or the lobelia — apparently last year’s annual, gone perennial — shimmering in a pot amid this year’s spent pansies. Or the Virginia creeper — leaves soon to be scarlet — now pushing its way up through the deck planks. Or the ….uh … yellow stuff gracing my driveway.
My favorite surprise, though, has been a rangy outcropping of catnip, thick-stemmed, tiny-blossomed and pungent with that singular scent my cats knew before I did.
Ever since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana five years ago, my state has offered an additional kind of Rocky Mountain high to humans. Personally, I prefer watching my cats get buzzed: those wild and dreamy eyes reminding me to appreciate the unpredictable gifts of this surprising world, ever offering themselves to us.