I had a conversation recently with a student who reminded me of how I had once said, "pick weeds early". She said she was out in her yard picking little weeds when she remembered what I had said. It dawned on her that I wasn't talking so much about weeds in the garden, at least not exclusively. Instead I was talking about picking the weeds that tend to grow in our lives.
Here's a different, and a bit light-hearted take on that statement: I live in a floating home and we have a container garden, considering we don't really have any soil in which to plant a regular style sort of garden. A few months ago I prepped some soil with a few bulbs in two particular planter boxes. Ever since then, I have been diligently watering them. About two weeks ago, my husband said to me, "why are you watering those weeds?" I said, "THOSE are not weeds! They are going to be these really beautiful grasses with tiny orange blossoms. Just give them time." Day after day, I watched them grow and it became a sweet banter between my husband and myself about watering the weeds while I waited for a sign of the impending flowers.
A couple of days ago, I was out early watering my plants. When I got to the planters with the grasses I had been waiting to bloom orange flowers, I looked a bit more closely, considering they seemed to have grown a foot overnight. I was shocked to see that, they had spawn some sort of wheat looking blossom that clearly sealed their identity: THEY WERE WEEDS!
I couldn't help but laugh out loud. Here I had been watering them, nurturing their sweet roots and protecting them from the hands and comments of my husband so they could grow with love surrounding them. I hadn't even noticed that they had grown to three times the size of the grasses that I had planted in previous years that bloomed the pretty little orange flowers. And here, I had been cursing their "siblings" in a nearby planter, venomously removing them from their soil-clad grip, never thinking that in the next planter over, I was coveting their identical twin... loving all over them... totally "gah gah".
But on this day, the truth came out. The weeds sprung forth in their boldest splendor. And I couldn't help but stand face to face with my weeds, reflecting on the humor this life metaphor had taught me.
So, I thought the moral of the story was to "pull weeds early". But it seems there is an even deeper and preliminary moral. And that is that we first have to get clear on what constitutes a "weed" and call a weed a weed.... and if we're lucky, we do that early too.
Because let me tell you, those buggers were ruthless when I tried to pull them... imagine me, white knuckled and gripping their splindly green torsos, while having to hold down the planter with my foot to get even a moderate grip.
... or better yet, imagine YOU....
Pay close attention. Call a weed a weed and pull it early. We'll all have a lot more time to sit and enjoy the bounty and beauty of our gardens if we do so.