Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I notice the different weeds in my patch of garden,
My little garden that I and my husband installed
When pests ate our grass,
Grass that wasn’t native to this earth.
We carved out our little plot and placed native plants there,
Things that were intended to grow in this sandy dirt,
Rather than the golf course turf that housebuilders and associations love,
But require water the sky doesn’t provide and nourishment the earth doesn’t produce.

I pull weeds.
And I praise the One Who created me.
And I praise the One Who created the weeds.

I see one weed that is beautiful.
It fans out like hot weather, bright-sun fern.
Its spidery, lacy fingers hide tiny creatures
That run in fear for shelter as I remove their home.
Its roots are shallow, so it comes up readily,
And breaks easily, leaving behind bits of itself
To regenerate and spread.
If I’m not careful to remove it completely,
I will have two weeds tomorrow where today
There was only one.

I see one weed that looks like a shoot of grass, similar to the grasses I’ve planted,
No big deal. But
The spike that grows up from the earth
Is half as high as the tap root hidden below,
Tying it in an underground grid
To its kin six inches hence.
I’m surprised by the strength and will,
How deeply dug in it is
And I reach for my spade.
As I gently pull and follow the root
With eyes that cannot see,
I bring all of it up and discard it.

I see one weed that dresses up in clothes of legitimacy.
Clever weed! You look just like my jasmine!
You slither through the bed, ingratiating yourself to me with pretty flowers.
But your stem gives you away before you
Choke life from this ground’s rightful resident.
Carefully I follow you, up and over and under and through.
I know you from your fleshy stem.
If I hadn’t paid close attention, you’d have taken over before I noticed anything
Was even wrong.
With you gone, the chaos diminishes and the path is clear again.

I see a weed that is just…so…weedy.
Surely I’ve seen your spindly stem and puffy head
Elsewhere? Just a little yank and…
Your roots, thick and fibrous,
Take so much earth with them, leaving a
Gaping hole.
I shake the dirt off, patting it back down,
But the scar remains.
Time will take care of it.

My gardener’s wisdom grows as I move from weed to weed, deliberately,
A little at a time.
The sun rains down, beating me, encouraging them.
O so tempting to work and work and work and leave it all out there in the work.
But would that be best? No.
The work would be sloppy. And so I work twenty minutes, until
The dripping sweat comes, and
The fair skin burns, and
The dizziness starts.
And I see there is more to do tomorrow.
And I see a tiny weed poke up from the patch I gave my strength to yesterday.
And I know all over again my work requires diligence to diminish the invasion
Over time.
But the work will always be.

John said yesterday, “Just spray them
Don’t wreck your back on this futile work.”
But – spray poison and render this plot barren
All for the sake of convenience?
At what cost? What else might the chemical kill?
My gardener wisdom grows.

I pull weeds.
And I praise the One Who created me.
And I praise the One Who created the weeds.

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