Last week I did a LOT of weeding. We’ve had the 5th rainiest June in almost 100 years, here in Eastern Pennsylvania, and that’s helped everything grow. I started weeding with the front beds and slowly made my way around to the side of the property and then into the back. Larry finished up the final bed where our pear tree is loaded with fruit, and the shrubs that I planted a decade ago thinking, “they are so pretty and just the right color” have grown much too large for that area. Sometimes I just don’t do enough research on the “will grow to be” section of what I plant. Sometimes, in my enthusiasm, I plant things that can’t be easily managed.
Weeding can be laborious but when I’m taking it slowly; not rushing through it, it can be a time with God. The repetitive and somewhat mindless task allows my brain to decompress a bit and simply BE. It’s like that with power washing the deck too. I get into a rhythm and kind of “zone out” with the noise in the background as I move from one area of the deck to another. It’s interesting how different we feel about the “chores” of life. Some of us are fine with weeding or power washing, others have ironing or window cleaning or vacuuming on the list of “household tasks I don’t mind doing”. Before Larry goes to bed at night he always makes sure that any non-dishwasher friendly items (good glassware and knives, the wooden salad bowl) are carefully washed. When I’ve offered to do that, he responds, “that’s my thing”. When I’m frazzled or worried I do amazing “stress organizing and cleaning”. I know there are others who function exactly the same- it’s a way to “burn off” some emotional or mental energy!
Back to weeding…In spite of being careful, I did end up with a rash on my arm from poison ivy. I do try to be proactive- wear gloves, long sleeves if it’s not too hot (if it IS hot I don’t follow that rule), wash as soon as I’m done but sometimes that just isn’t enough. Maybe I brushed against something that I didn’t realize was “poisonous”. That’s the way it is sometimes; you don’t “see” what’s not good for you to be near.
Larry likes to joke that “perennials are weeds, weeds are perennials”, so I checked a few dictionaries to see what I could find to defend my stand that they are NOT the same. This is what I read:
-a valueless plant growing wild, especially one that grows on cultivated ground to the exclusion or injury of the desired crop dictionary.com
-one that tends to overgrow or choke out more desirable plants Merriam Webster
-having a life cycle lasting more than two years dictionary.com
-appearing again and again or year after year; recurrent: freedictionary.com.
That didn’t help so I kept looking for one simple sentence that would say, “weeds are bad, perennials are great”. Of course, I didn’t find that either.
After more research, than I care to admit, I found out that, like the good and bad in life, weed seeds are pretty much everywhere. It’s those at the top couple of inches that get enough sunlight to turn into plants. When we got our vegetable garden ready, we unwittingly, brought those deeply buried seeds to the surface. Sometimes when we’re discovering “who we really are” we end up having to dig deep to bring some of the weeds to the surface and then remove them or heal them or love them. One of the articles I read advised that whenever digging is done, be prepared for the floodgate to be opened for weeds (my dramatic interpretation not the writer’s) and be ready to either put in a new plant or mulch the area. Choke out the stuff you don’t want growing by filling in with plants you love. Mitigate the parts of your world that cause you pain or sadness by living into what brings you joy. (One cool thing I read was that instead of pulling out dandelions and other weeds that have taken up residence in your grass, cut through the roots with a sharp knife. That cuts off their food source. You learn something new everyday.)
I never “planted” those weeds that I spent all that time pulling out. They arrived in my life without invitation. Maybe they blew in with the rain or wind. Maybe they were carried in by an insect or dropped off by a bird. Maybe they were unwittingly “escorted in” on my own shoes.
Part of the solution to not growing even more weeds is to pull them before they “flower” and produce seeds. Gosh, there are a lot of “life weeds” I wish I would have pulled as soon as I recognized them. Instead, I tried to talk through them or ignore them or believe I could change them into a beautiful flowers when, whether I liked it or not, they were simply weeds that left unchecked would take over.
I’ve learned a lot from the “weeds” in my life. I’ve even thought that some of them were downright beautiful. There are times that I’m sure I let the weeds block the sun so much that the flowers didn’t flourish. I’ve also figured out that we have to diminish the damage weeds can do. We have to stop them from choking off, or covering over, what’s wonderful. To keep your garden/life weed-free you have to do the work of fighting off the “intruders” that want to take root and germinate. Sometimes you can spray a big area with weed killer then come in and clean up what’s left, but sometimes you have to be purposeful, take your time, decide what’s good and what’s not-so-good, have a conversation with God, and then pull out one weed at a time.
©2015 Peace Full Home/Intentional Living
p.s. from “The Checklist from Z to A”:
#16. Say “no” to (outside of work) requests that you really don’t have the time or energy to do; this is about what others “expect” you to do. Saying, “I just can’t take that on” can be very liberating!