• Marianne Musgrove

The Wisdom of Tendrils


It’s a Wednesday and I’m confined to barracks while I await my Covid-19 test results. The perimeter of my yard is as far as I’m allowed to venture and I find myself sitting on the porch watching the snow peas. I planted and staked them a couple of weeks ago and now the seedlings are sprouting tendrils – curious scouts sent out to discover what’s beyond the border of this small patch of soil.

I marvel at the delicate curls – the almost weightless fragility of them. They recall the antennae of snails or the feelers of crickets quietly and intelligently sensing the world around them.

How easily a bird or a human could snap these tendrils off, yet their very fragility is what gives the snow pea its strength. The lightness brings flexibility, allowing each tendril to coil around any object it happens upon. And this in turn anchors the plant, guiding it so that it might climb upwards, away from predatory ground dwellers towards the sun.

The more I watch them, the more I admire the bravery of these spindly adventurers. They don’t know where they’re going.

But they go anyway.

They may be torn apart or pecked or plucked.

They go anyway.

They somehow know the survival of the whole depends on their reconnaissance mission and they travel forth willingly, their innate intelligence interpreting the Braille of bark, mulch, rocks, sticks and stakes.


What I’m coming to love is the gentle resoluteness of their searching coupled with a complete acceptance of what they discover. Tendrils don’t judge what they encounter. They don’t insist that what they find must bend to their will. Instead, they adapt to whatever is before them, enfolding it in a tender, green embrace.


The weather is turning cold and fat drops of rain are spotting the pavement around me. As I rise to go inside, I notice a few bold tendrils waving shakily in the breeze. As they're yet to locate a stake, their alien fingers extend into the air,

expectant,

hopeful,

an open handshake with the world.

May the tendrils of your heart guide you to surprising places,

and may you find the courage to trust these small green envoys

to lead you on a journey beyond the perimeter of the known.