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I love this time of year.  As I drive down the dirt roads, lined with thick wooded areas, I make sure I drive slow, with the windows down.  Spring tips her cap at you through the dangling blooms and delicate scent of lavender wisteria that has taken over. There is nothing like it.

Wisteria is an invasive vining shrub that most certainly must be a kissing cousin to Kudzu.  If you stand still and watch long enough, you can almost see both of these plants grow right before your eyes.  Harsh winters can’t kill it.  Storms can’t strip the blooms.  And cutting it back just makes it grow faster.  Yet, within a week or two, all evidence of it will be gone. 

I have a love / hate relationship with Wisteria.  At one point, I had a white one in front of my house.  Even though I worked diligently every year to keep it pruned, it refused to conform to my standards.  I would prune one day, and the next week it would be thickly entwined with limbs of the oak tree, threatening to take over.  Vines had crept along the ground, headed to the fence line.  A few managed to grow long enough to reach the posts on the carport.  I would snip, cut, prune and massacre, and the next week it would grow back to suffocating proportions.  I finally gave in and allowed Randy and Danny to yank it up by its roots. 

Yet, still, I love seeing it along our backroads.  I have a great admiration and respect for it.  It is a determined plant.  It takes punishment and uses it to grow stronger.  It loves to be pruned so it can grow thicker.  Storms help it to grow roots strong enough to withstand the harshest rain and the most forceful winds.  It is the Southern Belle of the plant world – delicate and beautiful on the outside, tough as nails on the inside.

I can learn a lot from Wisteria.  Living on a farm and learning to live a simpler, sustainable life requires the same stamina that this beautiful plant has.  You need to be flexible, yet steadfast.  You need to be tough as nails, yet have a gentle touch.  You need to weather the storms and flourish in the sunshine.  You need to know that all that hard work you are putting into your lifestyle will one day make you bloom with a beauty that is unsurpassed.

Simply Living.  The Wisteria of lifestyles.  And well worth all the pruning, snipping, and cutting back that life can throw at you.