Thursday, June 02, 2011

Weeding the Garden

I'm trying to make it a habit.

Every year, I plant a vegetable garden, and every year, at some point, I let the weeding go and it becomes so overgrown that I can't find my veggies. Or worse yet, my veggies don't grow and thrive as they should because they are crowded out and choked by all the weeds.

This is the one thing that I am working to avoid this year. Every time I take the compost out to the bin, I try to stop and spend a little time weeding. Even if I don't have time to do it perfectly, even if I only take 5 minutes to pull the biggest and most obvious offenders, I am making that small investment. As a result, I can see my veggies clearly, they are growing well, and I am enjoying my garden more.

The time I spend weeding is often the only quiet, introspective time I have during the day. The boys stay away for fear of getting roped into the chore - there are no distractions like the computer or the radio - just me and the plants and the weeds and my thoughts.

Today I got to thinking about the act of pulling the weeds and of regular maintenance and the metaphor these provide with regard to other areas of life.

Questions arose.

Why pull the weeds in the first place when I know they're just going to grow back? Why do I wind up repeating the same work over and over and over again?

Answers came.

Pulling the weeds is important because they interfere with growth that is supposed to happen. They take up resources that need to go somewhere else. They obscure the things that should be seen and recognized. They are a distraction from the beauty of the healthy things in the garden.

We do need to pull the same weeds over and over again, but by doing that, we keep them from getting too big, we keep their roots from spreading too wide, we minimize the impact that they have on the good growth. It may be impossible to stop them completely, but accepting the fact that regular attention and maintenance is necessary for the health of the garden makes it easier to do the small amount of work it takes.

And it's better to stay on top of these things than to wait until they reach a crisis point.

I noticed that, just as in my life, there are parts of the garden that are generally pretty easy to stay on top of and keep weed-free, and parts that require a lot more vigilance. Some parts seem to always have some weeds, no matter how hard I try to keep them at bay.

As I thought about this today, it occurred to me that it is better to just accept that one patch or another that will require more work and may never be as healthy as the other parts. I need to just be happy with the progress that I do see, rather than focus on the fact that it's still not what I want - or even worse, to give up completely.

Sometimes the act of weeding has value in itself, regardless of whether the difference is obvious. You never know what kind of impact this work is having under the soil.

In any case, I'm trying to be more aware of the things that I need to nurture and the things I need to discard, both in my garden and in my life.

Hoping that the attention I'm giving to both will prove to be productive.

1 comment:

Anne said...

Nice introspection. And so very ture.