Making peace with weeds
And then I made myself pause, breathe, and remember to take care of my body while I weeded. I’m used to flailing myself around when I work in the garden, especially when I’m weeding. Especially when I’m weeding the area full of new weeds that I just weeded last week.
I went to the store and bought black plastic. “They say” now is the time to cover the ground in black plastic in order to have the heat burn the weeds and weed seeds. I kept hesitating to buy it. I fumbled around in the aisle while I tried to make peace with putting plastic into my organic garden. I really don’t like plastic, I’ve never used it, but I’m getting desperate. I bought it.
I decided to weed the area before putting down the plastic. I reflected that I hate plastic more than weeds. Why would I put plastic on the weeds now, after all this time? Because I hate weeds. I’ve tried so many times to dig deep enough to get the roots out, to get these weeds out for good. My garden looks like crap with weeds. I want a pretty garden without weeds. Plastic is not pretty.
So here I go again, weeding. And finally I made progress. At last I realized weeds are part of the reality of a garden. Accept it. Somehow I did, and I relaxed and began weeding with patience. I had fun following the roots around, shaking out the dirt, feeling the sun, listening to the birds. I took breaks. I stood in the shade and admired the trees, birds, sky, clouds, and garden.
The weeds in my mind are the same as the weed in my garden.
“Weedy” thoughts are part of my landscape, part of my reality. Now, I feel myself a little more at ease with the repeating thoughts that give me grief, anger, rage, hate, hopelessness, shame, and fear. I’ve been trying to rip these weedy thoughts out of my experience for years. No matter what I do, they reappear, so I figured I was failing at the pursuit of peace.
But maybe peace, like a garden, is not a state of perfection. Maybe it’s a state of acceptance for what is in the midst of the pursuit for what I want.
I have said so many times that I love to work in the garden. Most of my work in the garden is weeding. It’s the weeds that get me into the garden, into the fresh air, hands digging in the dirt. It’s the weeds that set me up for chance meetings with birds, butterflies, toads, a gentle breeze, a momentary communion with Nature.
My nagging parade of thoughts has brought me to my inner world. Cultivating this inner landscape is largely a process of weeding. But weeding in a manner of impatience and anger takes all of the fun out it. Weeds remind me to plant more flowers, to cultivate the soil, to pay attention to the garden. Weeds are so precious, why would I ever want to live without them?