Sunday, May 30, 2010


That’s what the road to hell is paved with right?

When my husband and I left for a long weekend recently, we had a beautiful meadow jam-packed with colorful wildflowers—sourweed, toadflax and thousands of old-fashioned “pinks” in the phlox family. They freely self-seed and come back year after year in myriad shades of pink, purple, white, pale rose, etc. etc. Here’s a picture of some I picked just before we left.

And we’d been excited to see that a spring-blooming variety of coreopsis had suddenly reappeared. Several thick clumps had volunteered there three years ago and then vanished. Now they were back in all their golden glory.

It was dark when we got back from our trip, but next morning, we poured ourselves mugs of coffee and walked down to the meadow to enjoy the flowers. To our horror, we discovered that it had been mowed as flat as a suburban lawn.

Mr. Helpful Neighbor had hired someone with a tractor mower to come mow his own weedy field on the other side of the woods from us and had told the man to go ahead and mow ours, too. The mower was dubious. “Mr. Maron said he’d call me in the fall when he was ready to get it cut.” (Which is what we do after the seed pods have all ripened.) But Mr. HN was positive that we’d want ours mowed right then and that he was doing us a favor.

That’s often the case, isn’t it? I, too, can go rushing in, absolutely certain that I’m doing something a friend or family member wants done, or that I’m offering advice and suggestions that will be certainly be appreciated. I tell myself that I’m only thinking of the other person, but too often it’s that cunning ego who seductively whispered, “What a good person you are to be doing this without being asked.” When the other person makes it crystal clear that our good intentions were not wanted, we retreat in hurt dismay. “But I only meant to help!” we wail when we get slapped down.

It’s taken a lifetime, but I’m gradually learning to wait to be asked before I assume I know what’s wanted and rush in to do it.

As for Mr. HN, no we didn’t slap him down, but we did ask the mower to put us on his calendar for September and not a day before.

PS: Come talk to me about good intentions over on my Facebook page.

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