I wish I could train my garden to weed itself, especially now. My recent knee surgery has made kneeling to work in the garden an impossible dream (at least for now). So, I call on the family to help, and bend from the waist to weed, again and again.
And still the weeds come back! And despite all my complaining, I take comfort in that fact. I take comfort in the weeds. I take comfort in life.
Life is tough. It doesn’t give up easily. It struggles. Life finds the cracks in the sidewalks, the untended niches, the corners of the yard. Seeds slip into the tiny spaces where we think nothing can possibly survive. Green shoots emerge. We feign surprise.
Life is stubborn. Sprouts next to the precious flowers, in the pampered compost-blessed humus of the garden. Out! Pulled up by the roots, again and again. But still says “I have a right to grow” and sprouts yet one more time, outlasting the tired gardener who believes the illusion that she owns the land.
Life fights back. Even the human-engineered so-called “weed killers” are only good for a while. Life stages a resistance, and outwits the onslaught one gene at a time. In the end, the weeds win.
For all our talk about “saving the planet,” I have a feeling that the planet will be just fine. Damaged and degraded, yes. But just give it a few million years…it’ll be like new. By that time, the plants that are invasive today will have evolved into new species, perfectly suited to a particular niche. Life itself, tough, strong and wise, will go on. What we really mean is saving ourselves from our own shortsightedness and arrogance. What we really mean is absolving our own guilt for the destruction we have created on the planet right now.
I’ll keep on weeding. I treasure my tomatoes and foxgloves too much to stop. Weed, compost, soil, flower, weed, back around again and again.
I will learn to treasure the weeds.
Note to blog readers: The blog will be taking a brief hiatus next week for relaxation and mental maintenance. See you in two weeks!
Photo Credit: close up of dandelion flower by flickr user Noel Zia Lee at www.creativecommons.org