This is absolutely the right metaphor for 2021: the surprise sunflower growing in the weed pile.
Whatever I yank out of the gardens and whatever I clean out of the chicken coop gets dumped into a small section of the field close to the house but out of sight. The later into summer we get, the less I can see it because the field grows up around it.
Unfortunately -- and I anticipated this -- the noxious weeds from the vegetable gardens don't ever die so they thrive in the weed pile. I'm not sure how I feel about these awful, useless weeds (seriously, they are not lovely and helpful like dandelions or clover) taking over the field but the only alternative is burning, which is equally as noxious.
It doesn't help that the chicken poop helps everything grow. Including something I do want.
Back in July, I noticed a familiar looking plant emerging -- there's no mistaking those large leaves.
Somehow, either through my cleaning up the gardens or perhaps a bird carrying the seed, this sunflower germinated and took root and grew -- blossomed -- in the most unlikely place, in a place no one attends to, in a place where the stuff we don't want to deal with ends up.
A random, unexpected sunflower grows in the weed pile out back.
Beauty grows where you least expect it.
Something good appears in the midst of the bad stuff.
Beauty and goodness are always around us, but we must keep our eyes open to notice it in the places where we aren't expecting them -- yet really, those are the places where beauty and goodness are most likely to flourish because we need to see them.
We need that moment of joy. A moment to pause in the pushing of wheelbarrow to smile, breathe in deeply, and realize it's not all bad all the time. Joy persists. The bees keep buzzing. And there will be seeds planted here for next year.