Usually, when we use the term “unintended consequences” it’s to point out how badly things turn out after we do something, even with noble intentions.
But here’s a example of something good happening from something that needed to be done. Maybe 25 years ago, we needed a new septic system and leaching field at our house. To build the field, they created a small drainage swale at the bottom of the hill in our yard. It’s wetter there than other places.
And gradually, over the years, blue flag iris, a native wildflower has colonized this little ribbon in our yard – it likes damp spots. When I cut the high grass there, I spare the iris. It’s spread nicely.
So for a little while in June, in the green patch beyond my garden, there is a uneven line of violet-blue flowers in bloom amid the greenery. If I were a painter, I’d be out there in the sun, trying to capture this annual fleeting little patch of beauty. I’m not. I can’t. But now, every June, I look forward to seeing serendipitous stretch of color, this unintended consequence that makes the world better.