Life is full of the unexpected. It's ironic that one can expect the unexpected. I think there are different ways of dealing with the unexpected. I tend to deal with them in one of two ways. I either view the unexpected as a wonderful stroke of serendipity, and I revel in the magic of it. Or the unexpected broadsides me with such an impact that I am overwhelmed to the point of an extreme emotional response.
When I chose to follow my heart and plant a garden that could be certified as a backyard wildlife habitat, I had no idea all the unexpected things that would occur. I felt pretty green when I embarked on the whole plan, so I expected the unexpected because I didn't know what to expect (there's that irony again).
Let me share just a few of the things that I, in no way, anticipated or expected but have been magically serendipitous:
- I became passionate about growing citrus trees even though I had very little experience doing so. Being situated in a hilly town where each street can have a different microclimate, our home happens to be on a street that is prime for growing citrus and having them thrive through the winter.
- After digging a 1, 200 gallon pond with a shovel and sheer willpower, I quickly found out that I also needed to be a steward over a population of fish, or I was going to have a mosquito farm on my hands. I had no idea that Wal-Mart goldfish would breed year after year and become "indigenous natives" in my garden habitat pond. Wild goldfish... I never would have expected it.
- With the original vision of having two sweet little indoor housecats, Hubby and I had no idea that we would end up being the rescuers and stewards over many others that would cross our paths. Some would only need temporary assistance, and some would end up becoming permanent residents. Regardless of the length of our association, we have considered it an honor to assist in each of their life's journeys.
- Being a habitual traveler with a heart full of wanderlust, I had no idea that I could fall in love with my own home and garden so much that the desire to wander would fade to almost nothing. I had no idea that my roots could grow so deep in one place.
This experience encapsulates the beauty and magic of the unexpected for me. This is pure "photographic serendipity" as its best. And this is the experience that got me thinking about this whole idea of the unexpected being a positive thing in life if I let it.
As I read over the many comments left on my post about the mandarins on our tree, I thought about how many of you could probably cultivate citrus where you live, but don't know it. I thought, "What a great unexpected treat would that be for someone to realize that they could grow the very thing that they are pining over, but they just don't know it yet?"
The link to the right is to a book I found that showcases more than 100 citrus varieties that can be grown outside year-round in the U.S. states of California, Arizona, Texas, The Gulf Coast, and Florida. Each of those states is big with lots of micro-climate variations in them, so there are many parts of the world that are similar. Then when you consider that many citrus varieties can be grown inside anywhere in the world... well... the possibilities are endless!
So what unexpected and serendipitous experience are you going to embrace this coming year? Will you plant your first citrus tree like I did a short while ago? Will you decide to turn your condo balcony into a butterfly and hummingbird garden all with potted plants? Will you grow tomatoes from seed for the very first time even if it's in a 5-gallon pot in your kitchen window? Tell me... what unexpected magic will stare you in the face (just like Lucy stared into my camera lens) and make you take a moment to laugh and feel pure joy?