A Tree (Maybe?) Grows in Brooklyn Flower Box

Once upon a time I had beautiful flowers growing in my flower box, perennials they were, popping up eagerly every spring, similar to the photo on the left, but not hydrangeas, and not blue. After a while, a number of years, five years perhaps, I noticed that fewer and fewer shoots were sprouting up. Then one year they just got tired I suppose, and hid in the soil. Or maybe the seeds fell asleep and forgot to wake up? Or maybe they thought I didn’t care anymore? Or maybe their life-span had run its course?

Then this spring a weed appeared. I had left the flower container on the ledge, filled with soil, and just let it be, and now something else was growing in it. I didn’t notice it particularly, and certainly  not enough to do anything about it,  until the other day when the soil was all dried out and the weed (or whatever) was drooping forlornly. Better water it, I thought. Weed or no weed, it had the thoughtfulness to grace my window box with its presence and it deserved a drink of H2o.

Well, now we were getting personal. So I stood there at the kitchen window, thinking about how trees spring up in cracks in the pavement.

They don’t look like trees at first. They might just look like this one, a green shoot looking for the light. (This is the same window box as above; I’ve just colored it more green.)

But does a tree seed know that it’s only growing in a plastic container on someone’s kitchen window ledge? I don’t think so!

Here is a picture of a tree out back of my small apartment building. Doesn’t it look as if its growing out of the cement container there? Well guess what, it is!

I’m telling you these trees cannot be stopped. I’ve seen shoots sprouting up from cracks in the sidewalks of Brooklyn. (There’s something about Brooklyn…)

Remember the book A Tree Grows In Brooklyn….

That tree was an Ailanthus, or “Tree of Heaven”, native to China and Taiwan, and is common in vacant lots around New York City.

One never can tell…

So I think I will stop calling my ‘weed’ a weed, and perhaps think of it as a little tree, maybe? Because, who knows? (And if you know, then please don’t tell me. I like surprises! I like living in wonderment…)


About Nancy Wait

Nancy Wait is an artist a memoir writer, author of "The Nancy Who Drew, The Memoir That Solved A Mystery," and a former actress (stage, film and TV) in the UK under the name of Nancie Wait. She once hosted the blog talk radio shows "Art and Ascension" and "Inspirational Storytellers." Her current project is a second memoir, "The Nancy Who Drew the Way Home."
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9 Responses to A Tree (Maybe?) Grows in Brooklyn Flower Box

  1. A lovely article Nancy. A weed is only a flower growing where we don’t want it to. Lots of people say that daisies are weeds but they have beautiful faces when you look at them up close – they are appear to smile warmly at after us. I also like the vibrant yellow of the dandylion – which is, after all, a lion that is dandy!


    • Nancy Wait says:

      Thank you, Rebecca! I never thought of the dandylion as a lion that is dandy! Probably because I never wrote down the word, never thought about the spelling… And yes, you’re so right about weeds only being flowers that grow where we don’t want them to. Imagine going into the forest and thinking, oh my! look at all the weeds in this forest! Haha…

      Weed = we ed = we ed(ucate) = I just know there’s a story in there somewhere…


  2. Louise says:

    It’s lovely to come across a beautiful little flower, blooming in an neglected corner. It’s a reminder of how hope springs eternal! We encourage these little green shoots, as you both say, when we notice and when we share. It’s funny because this morning, before I saw these exchanges, I was going to look for a little book that I made a few years ago, which I’d filled with such moments of noticing what was right in front of my eyes. Now I’ve definitely got to go and hunt for it!


    • Nancy Wait says:

      Louise, you must find that book! Of course with your highly-charged perceptive nature, you can no doubt write reams of such books! Which causes me to think that might be a good theme for the radio show…. “What I Noticed This Past Week,” or something along those lines…. I could make an announcement asking listeners to send in their thoughts, if they don’t want to call in, and then I could read them aloud over the air.

      Thoughts are catching. I loved that expression I heard years ago, “thought-forms.” Thought FORMS!
      A Penny For Your Thoughts… We could give out ‘cyber pennies’ — though I have no idea what they’d look like 🙂
      Any thoughts on this?
      (Sigh) This particular stream of comments is simply another reminder of the value of creative minds and how good it is to connect with one another as we spur each other on. When minds (and hearts) are open to the creative flow, there’s no telling what beauty and riches will unfold…


      • Louise says:

        I called it ‘The Little Fat Book of Joy’. It was a very difficult year for me and this is what I would do. I had a phrase: “I Now See Fresh Delight.” At some point in my day, I would stop whatever I was doing and say that phrase to myself. Then I would look at whatever was right in front of me and really see it in detail – finding the delightfulness in it, whatever it was. It didn’t have to take a long time necessarily… and I’d make a few notes. In the evening, I’d capture that moment by writing and drawing in ‘The Little Fat Book of Joy’.


        • Nancy Wait says:

          What a wonderful and creative idea Louise! This is definitely going to be a radio show. I love how you called it “Fat” book of joy, knowing how ‘fat’ it was going to become… You are truly a creative soul. Many of these types of books are on the shelves in the Self-Help section, but you’ve made your own.
          I know when I’m depressed I can’t draw or paint to save my life. It takes a certain amount of openness and curiosity to be able to step into those waters of simply noticing what is around us.


  3. My pleasure Nancy. I like that “landing place” for thoughts. A place that is placeless, traceless as I think Rumi wrote. Regards story telling yes I agree. We tried to do this I think on the recent Read Your Stories Aloud radio show. But on story and tree there is another connection and I know you like this following quote:
    “A Story is a tree that grows in the soil of the heart” ~Hasan Askari

    Thank you for the kind reply to my comment.


  4. Nancy, lovely post of wonderment. To notice the minute is perhaps to notice the magnitude within it, as yet un-manifested. Like a mighty Tree springing from a tiny seed. As like thoughts sprining to might Ideas to transform not only our lives but the Life of All – The Planet. I wondered on the journey that stray seed had taken to somehow find its home on your window ledge. From which tree it had flown upon the wind, carried from pillar to post, from pavement to pavement, from other window ledges until it finally arrived to makea home at your window. To ask as such is for me not only to ask about the actual seed itself but to also ask about ourselves. From where did we spring, what journey we have taken to arrive at the window ledge of “Life”. To be in the company of others who will nuture us, water our heart and soul with loving care. Into what will we bloom as life unfolds I wonder. Thought provoking and much to ponder from your post. Thank you for noticing the small shoots of life on your window ledge and writing about it. Musa


    • Nancy Wait says:

      Musa, thank you for your thoughtful comment! You have taken the story to another level. Another example of how wonderful it is to share our stories, because by allowing others into our mental realm, they can – perhaps like you – propel our ‘seed thought’ onto a wider plane. This was the first thought that occurred to me. The other thing of course is simple gratitude that someone else cares about what I notice. Because the truth is, not only do we need to be noticed, but our thoughts need a landing place. Otherwise they might just swirl and swirl and get all tangled up in our heads. So thank goodness there is wordpress too!


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