Sunday, May 1, 2011


I've spent some time weeding the garden lately.  I usually do a very thorough job in the spring, then don't worry much about weeds for the rest of the summer.  My philosophy is that if the plants I'm trying to grow are obviously dominating the garden, there's no weed problem.

The worst weed that everyone fights with here is grass.  It might be couch grass, maybe quack grass; I've never identified it.  Everyone just calls it "the Grass" in tones of gloom.  It sneaks into the garden from all sides, sending great long roots snaking under the surface of the soil and then popping up somewhere in the middle of a bed.  It seems to grow several feet overnight.

As I pull out clumps of grass, dandelions, and clover and shake the clinging soil off their roots, I notice something.  The soil around them is a crumbly, soft texture, much nicer than the nearby soil where no weeds are growing.  The worms live there, too, in the shelter of the roots, rather than in the open spaces.

People think I'm crazy, but weeds make me happy.  For one thing, I like the evidence that we are not quite as powerful as we believe.  All we have to do is relax our vigilance for a few days, and our traces will start to disappear from the land.  Also, I enjoy seeing the strength of the life force in general.  Anywhere that there is a bit of room, life is busy filling it.  Life is not weak or easily destroyed, and the weeds reassure me of that.

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