In the Weeds
Tuesday, July 03, 2012
I've been in the weeds --figuratively-- for the past week or so. Work isn't too bad, actually, but my daughter has had a ton of end-of-school-year concerts, we've had two big neighborhood end-of-year get-togethers, a mini-luncheon for friends who had twins.... Good stuff. Well, except for the fact that dh is overseas, so we can't split the activities.
The rest of this week should be better.... Assuming that my wallet is still locked safely in a drawer at work, and I don't have to run around replacing things.... But I digress.
Gardening and yard work fall into the category of things I like while I'm doing them, but I don't like them enough to do them regularly. This has consequences... like by the time I decide I really should do something, everything is totally overgrown. Not that I'm the only one responsible for the yard. Usually dh does the heavier stuff. But he's been really busy lately, and some things fell off the radar....
But recently I decided that I wanted to do a little more. If nothing else, I wanted to clear some of the underbrush out back, since it's snake season.... But since it's snake season, I can't just go out there any time I want. I have to actually plan my excursions into the wild, to make sure I'm out there before it warms up enough for reptiles to venture out. Which means that I really should be done by 7am.... 8 at the latest. So I've actually scheduled some quality time with my back yard--even if it's just one day a week, on a day when I'm working at home.
So far, so good. As I said--once I get started, I really enjoy it. For several reasons. For one thing, I like seeing the order emerging from the chaos. Not that I'm aiming for a perfectly manicured lawn or anything. It's just that, well, if we actually planted something, I like to be able to see it, you know?? I also enjoy the physical side of it. I'm not chopping down trees or anything, but there is a certain amount of work involved in cutting back the weeds--especially since the clippers I'm using aren't the sharpest tool in the shed.... The trips back and forth to the compost pile add up, even if most of what I'm lugging is grass and other light vegetation.
But what I enjoy most is the way my thoughts flow.
For instance, I often link the whole process of tending a garden with the process of tending my inner self. Weeds are bad habits or limiting beliefs. When they first crop up, I can't always tell whether it's a weed, a wildflower, or something I actually paid money to put there.... So sometimes I let things grow a little longer than a "real" gardener would. Is that good or bad? I'm not sure. I often find that pulling a weed that is a few inches long and has some substance to it is easier than pulling a sprout. But if I let it go much past that, it becomes harder to pull. Hmmm.
In the rainy season, I sometimes become overwhelmed with the rate at which they grow. I can spend two hours weeding a patch, and come out the next day to find the same amount of sprouts. At least, that's what it feels like.
It also feels like there are times when that's it--I'm done! Yay! I got it all! Such a success I am.... And then I turn around, and I'm surrounded by more. Ooof. Clear some of those out, turn back to where I started, and.... How did I miss that much???
I've also gone through phases where I take the weeds personally, you know? There's one plant that manages to grow really well in our rainy winters, and fairly well through our dry summers. It's ugly, scraggly, and smells bad. As it grows, the lower parts of the stems start drying out, so by the end of the plant's naturally life, it looks like it burned from the inside out. I've been so frustrated by the way it works itself into the space of the plants I like--whether it's the wild sage or the rosemary, lavender, and bougainvillea we planted outside the kitchen window....
But today it struck me.... Yes. These nasty, smelly plants are weeds. They are growing where I do not want them. But instead of viewing them as horrible evil infiltrators (especially if I'm working in the open space behind our house, which is meant to stay somewhat wild), what if I view them as indicators?
If this plant is growing there, but not somewhere else, it is an indicator of a fertile patch of ground. It is an indicator of the presence of water--whether because of our drip system, or because of some natural characteristic of that spot of land. Maybe some indentation that catches the dew? Maybe it has shade just an hour longer in the morning?
Yes, it's OK for me to remove the weed. But it's a sign that I should nurture that spot--nurture the other things growing there. That's a much better approach than salting the earth and letting it all die....
Lots more to say about weeds and weeding, but I'd better save it for later. Today I actually have some time for myself, and I have a sense of some fertile patches of ground that can use some nurturing.