An Ode to Gravel Paths

Just a few weeks ago,
the J.P. Stone Contractors crew
laid gravel paths
around the perimeter of my garden.
I wanted the paths to keep my feet from getting muddy
during the wet months of the year.
I also wanted to hear the crunch of gravel
under foot, a satisfying sound indeed for me.

What I didn’t anticipate,
but which pleases me greatly,
is how the paths
clarify the garden,
carving chaos into organized, defined space.

Suddenly it seems more obvious
what needs to be done
to make the garden feel more cohesive and complete.

Can gravel paths “make” a garden?
After the gravel paths were laid,
it was obvious where a dry creek bed should go.
After the gravel paths were laid,
it became obvious where raised vegetable beds should be.
After the gravel paths were laid,
suddenly I knew (almost) exactly
where plants should be placed.

It’s not the gray of the gravel
that makes the difference per se.
But the fact that the gravel paths leads the eye
and create a better story
than the one I was trying to tell.