This summer’s northeast weather has been ideal for weed growth. A wet spring followed by a record-setting heat wave. Thankfully, I only have a couple of areas I plant, and those are filled with low-maintenance, perennials.
Who has time to toil in a garden, when they are working, raising a family, tending a house, and running a business? Certainly not I. And, to boot, I don’t like pulling weeds, mainly because I don’t find pleasure in sweating dirt from my pores. It’s not that I’m opposed to dirt; it’s just not my thing.
Needless to say, scrub grasses, an assortment of unidentifiable weeds and four-foot-tall wild plants that are bowing from their own weight have overpopulated my gardens this summer. My lawn looks like crap. And it’s been bothering me.
The hot spell broke last week, and we’ve had some nice soaking rains these past few days. Yesterday, I began thinking about how easy the unwanted vegetation would pull out of the ground. This morning, as I returned from my carpooling regimen, I decided it was time. I thought about coming in to the house for a pair of gloves, but decided I might well find some distractions and postpone the job, one more day. So, I dropped my purse on the front step and went to work.
The weeds lifted from the soil easily. And as the roots surfaced, so did inhabitants who love dirt. Earthworms. Giant earthworms nearly as big as my pinky finger. Okay, so that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but they were big.
After a few of the slimy creatures burrowed back into the earth, I thought about my family. My husband and our children love to fish. As we live on a farm, they typically harvest worms from beneath piles of rotting wood and rocks, before heading out to the pond.
Knowing these slimy creatures would bring my family great delight, I gathered up an old coffee can, and the nerve to pluck them from the ground. My reaction to the worms made me think about our pet snake (a whole post in itself) and the reaction so many people have to her. Which led me to thinking about the many facets of weeds…
Our lives are littered with weeds, objects, and instances that cause us conflict and grief. And, yet, what to me is an annoyance is to another, well…not. The snake I’ve come to accept and love (and TRUST me, I was deathly afraid of snakes prior to conceding on this pet) is to many the most ghastly form of life.
The nuisance that is my unwanted plant growth is to another an opportunity to be with nature, or to work in a little exercise. The fat and squishy, slippery specimens that I could do without are desired by those I love the most.
Truth is, as annoying and unattractive as I consider the weeds, they do have purposes on earth: They give off oxygen, which we need to survive, and they provide sustenance for wildlife. They also supply a habitat for my family’s coveted worms, not to mention insects, and life’s many other creepy-crawly critters that are a vital part of our ecosystem.
I have lamented many times, “I hate fishing.” Though I find no enjoyment whatsoever in the sport, I do like being with my family and with nature. I also happen to like eating most of the fish they put in our freezer. So, to bide my time and make the experience a little more personally palatable, I carry along a book to read or a journal and pen.
A few years ago, it dawned on me that my words didn’t reflect my inner feelings, and quite honestly, were separating me from my family rather than endearing me to them. Thus, I began rephrasing my words, “What I love about fishing is being with nature, hearing the chirping crickets, the tweeting birds, the rustling wind in the trees. But most of all, what I love about fishing is watching the joy you have when you’re fishing.”
Norman Vincent Peale said “Change your thoughts and you change your world.”
When you are feeling frustration and conflict, ponder these simple truths.
• Our thoughts are constantly moving and evolving. Motivation that might work for you today might not be effective tomorrow.
• Sometimes we will be able to pluck the weeds of our lives as effortlessly as pulling unwanted vegetation from rain-softened soil. And sometimes it will feel like we are pulling the roots from cement-like, drought-riddled earth.
• You may disagree with aspects of another’s religion or lifestyle, but you should not discount the overall value of their experiences and wisdom. You never know what small element might benefit you, until you try it on.
• No matter how elusive your inspiration might seem, it lies like the worms and the weeds, just under the surface, waiting to be culled from the recesses of your mind…