Sometimes wasn’t until I took a closer look that

Sometimes I’m the king of procrastination. Nothing could be truer than when faced with mowing the lawn in the vegetable garden. The pathways between the raised beds are grass, a choice that my dad made for the health of the plants. Grass pathways keep the area cooler, an important consideration in Carolina’s scorching summers. But grass grows, and then I must mow…whether I like it or not. I headed out to the garden on a muggy Friday afternoon armed with an electrical string trimmer, a new CobraHead weeding tool, and a bucket to collect the weeds. Trimming the beds took only a few minutes, and after I set aside the trimmer, it was time to weed. I tackled the strawberry bed first, removing chickweed, crabgrass, and nutsedge to reveal the healthy plants under the weeds. Next came the peppers, two beds’ worth of grass and similar weeds for the most part. Then it was on to the carrots, tomatoes, and okra. At the end of this particular vegetable garden bed, my mom had planted dill. She loves to cook with herbs, and nothing beats fresh dill and real butter on top of grilled salmon, a dish my family enjoys every Fourth of July. The dill looked strange, but it wasn’t until I took a closer look that I spied the culprits: Eastern swallowtail caterpillars. About six munched along the leaves and stems of the dill plants.Usually, I would pick any insects off the plants; instead, I let them keep munching away. As I gazed at the caterpillars, I realized how I had almost missed them in the garden. If I had avoided my chores another day or two, they would have been gone, or camouflaged by the surrounding leafy plants. If I had avoided weeding, I wouldn’t have had my nose close to the earth to identify weeds from emerging seedlings, and thus eye to eye with their baleful gazes. I would have missed the moment. Nature is my best teacher, and the caterpillars taught me many lessons. In every chore, even the most dreaded chore, there is delight. Surprises await us at every turn. In the garden, a day’s grace can mean the difference between catching a special moment, like butterfly caterpillars munching on your herbs or a nest of baby birds learning to fly. The caterpillars also reminded me that change is inevitable. Although small and earthbound now, within a few days or weeks, the caterpillars will spin their chrysalis and emerge triumphant as butterflies. The humble dill plant helps them make the transformation from earthbound to heaven bound. Within my own life, the earthbound pleasures of gardening have much to teach me about keeping my spirit and mind heaven bound, or focused on spiritual lessons. Although I wouldn’t say that I’m eagerly anticipating my next bout of weeding, I will say that I will certainly look more carefully at every aspect of my garden from now on. Who knows what surprises – and lessons – await me the next time I head out to weed?