I suppose it's no news to anyone here that you can sign up for a daily email from Writer's Almanac and it shows up, like a good friend, waiting to have coffee with you each morning. I've enjoyed the poems the last two days and their entry regarding the word "serendipity" has been rattling around in my head since I read it.
The following is a gardener's version of serendipity.
Several years ago I wandered aimlessly around a thrift store. Up and down each aisle I went, picking up someone's discard, examining it for a moment and then putting it carefully back in its place. That was the day I found this:
I don't know what it is besides the obvious — pie tin with uniform-sized holes machined into the bottom. I was not able to put this down again but at the same time, I didn't know what I'd use it for. I've attempted to use it for various things but mostly it sits at the bottom of a stack of pie dishes that I use regularly.
Yesterday, I took it out to the garden for no particular reason. I noticed that it fit nicely, no perfectly, atop the mouth of my enamelled bucket, the one that I picked up at an estate sale years ago:
I now have the perfect sifter to use on the finished compost pile. I only have the patience to sift small batches but the end result is beautiful. I end up with a fine black compost. This morning I added a little cottonseed meal, some greensand and even a small scoop of dry molasses to the bucket. I can see that the combinations will be endless and I may turn into a compost mix master of some sort. I mulched Michael's lime tree with the stuff and I put some into the herb pots, too and my poor beleaguered artichoke.
I don't know which is the most serendipitous part of the equation - finding the pie plate, finding the bucket or discovering that they should marry. I do know that this is part of what makes gardening a slow process for me. I mean look, it took two years for me to put the pieces together. Discovery takes time but when the spark comes, when the idea is there, it's fast and bright. An idea is like the flare of a match after it's swiped and ignites. Discovery is also very satisfying. It's the difference between taking the rough trail into the wood rather than the paved road. There's no telling what you will find when you let things unfold at their own pace. The trick is patience and willingness and I must admit that I do not always posses enough of both.