Sunday, September 04, 2005

Life Weeds

I like to pull weeds. Honestly, I like pulling weeds. I often weed the yards of friends when they are not looking. It is the quickest solution to a parasitic problem. I feel great doing it. Weeding is a great time to think. There isn't much else to do with your brain while weeding because weeding takes very little brain power. When you first start out gardening you have to be careful not to pull the desired plant along with the weeds. After practice the identification of weeds and desired plants becomes easy and automatic. You can also recognize younger and younger plants and get rid of them before they get bigger. (the only thing that makes a weed different from another plant is how welcome it is. A tomato is a weed if you don't want it growing in with the peonies.) My sisters tell me of a time when my father reluctantly helped my mother with the weeding. He was almost finished when my mother screamed that he had just pulled all of the onions. He thought they were grass. I think he just doesn't like to weed and didn't want to be asked to help again. He prefers to help in other ways.

In our lives we have things that like weeds are parasitic. I will call them life weeds. Our lives are cluttered full of way too much stuff. We have distractions, bad habits, addictions, laziness, procrastination, fear of failure, insistence on perfection which prevents completion and obligations that take our time and give nothing in return. Wow, I could do a post on each one of those. They keep us from harvesting those fruits of life we wish to harvest most. But unlike physical weeds, life weeds are not quickly dealt with. Some of them we are unaware of. So, maybe this is one of the reasons I like to do physical weeding. I can pick a patch of garden, assess the need, and have it clear of weeds in what seems to be just a few moments. It is simple. I am not as adept at weeding life weeds. I could identify many of them, probably down the the genus species if there were a taxonomy for life weeds. Ridding my life of them is another story.

I have learned that it is extremely important to quickly remove weeds, the literal and the symbolic one. Weeds when left to their own will grow in strength and become nearly impossible to deal with without causing harm to the desirable plants in a garden. When left alone weeds propagate and become a much bigger problem. Life weeds are similar to this behavior as well. In regards to religion I compare this to sins, a topic for a different blog. When a behavior is not corrected it becomes a habit and much more difficult to deal with. Bad habits lead to other bad habits. It can be a devastating cycle. How do I change behavior? How do I do some weeding in my life? It is hard. Often during introspection I wonder why I keep doing things that I hate and why I can't seem to fix them. Why do I resolve to correct the same thing week after week? I am sure this is not uncommon.

The irony in this blog called
In the Garden and this post called Life Weeds, is that sometimes I use the garden and weeding to avoid other more important needs. Instead of weeding my life I weed the garden. I am working hard and doing a good thing. That should be a good use of my time. I wonder if other people do good things to not feel bad about not doing the more important higher priority things? For me, weeding the garden can be a life weed.


Blogger Teresa said...

Very nice blog! I have way too many weeds, life and plant. I told Otto the other day that I don't like to pull weeds because I hate bugs. Maybe that is why I avoid pulling my life weeds too. Perhaps there are other things associated with my life weeds that I prefer to not think about, and definitely don't want to get close to. I am okay with bugs living in my yard, I mean, I guess they serve a purpose and I can share this earth with them, but I certainly don’t want to interact with them. In terms of my life, maybe if I attended to my life weed of addiction to chocolate, I would see a little bug scurrying along with the new and improved food guide pyramid on its back. I know this nutrition guideline is nothing to be afraid of and serves a very good purpose, but I just don’t want to think about it. I prefer to think that it doesn’t exist. If I just let this weed grow, I don’t have to think about how far I am from eating healthy. Now, if I could just get rid of the bugs...

September 05, 2005 1:15 AM  
Blogger Anna said...

Thank you Aaron, well worth the waiting, and waiting, and... (kidding). I also like weeding. I just wish I had a place to put a garden where I could weed. I think your right about weeding your life being hard and seeming to have to weed out the same things over and over again. My impression is that they are the things with really deep roots and you just don't dig enough to get the whole root the first time around, or second, or third, etc. You have to dig really deep and get out to whole root so it won't "grow" back. I hope we get to hear more from you.

September 05, 2005 1:27 AM  
Blogger Aaron said...

Teresa - Some bugs are beneficial to your plants. Ladybug beetles eat aphids. Parasitic wasps kill caterpillars and other bugs. Bees pollinate. That is just a few of the many. I have learned that ants are bad for your garden. They live symbiotically with aphids. They act like aphid ranchers feeding from the sugars of the aphid excretion, they herd the aphid to the healthy and juicy parts of the plant and stimulate them to eat more. Ants will then fight any predators of the aphids to protect their herd. I don't like ants. Otto used to eat ants, I should get him to eat mine. I don't like to use pesticides in my garden because they kill everything, even the beneficial bugs. By knowing which aromatic plants drive bugs away and having healthy soil and healthy plants you can keep harmful bugs away. Maybe that is analogous to life as well.
Anna, sometimes a garden is as small as one pot. I have seen people grow a lot in one pot. Or there are times when I help someone in their garden so that I can at least be in a garden.

September 05, 2005 7:57 AM  
Blogger Teresa said...

Yes Aaron, I know bugs are beneficial! That was my whole point!! The Food Guide Pyramid is beneficial. Some times in life we want to get rid of the things that are "bugging" us to do good and that will help us grow and mature. That WAS my point. I am sorry you missed it.

September 05, 2005 12:24 PM  
Blogger Lorien said...

I'm sure y'all remember that Mr. Webb was quite fanatic about the fact that most insects are not "bugs". Bugs are hemipterans, ants are hymenopterans, and aphids are...dang! I forgot. Maybe homopterans? Better get out the bug-oops-insect book. Anyway, ants and aphids are yucky, earwigs are the yuckiest, but I agree, most insects are pretty neato.

As far as life-weeding and avoidance behaviors? That's why I blog.

Great blog, Aaron. Hope to hear more from you.

September 05, 2005 9:29 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

In order to garden successfully you first have to like being outside in the area where you reside. Whereas I do like being outside in general, I don't really like being outside here. I do have a tomato plant which is not producing but it has been hot and I heard the gardner guy on HGTv mention that blossom drop (which is what it has been doing) is caused by low nitrogen in the soil so I put some epsom salts out there and it is getting cooler so maybe we will get some tomatos yet.

September 05, 2005 11:29 PM  
Blogger Otto said...

I think tomatos would just get trampled if you put them in with the ponies, so I can see why you wouldn't want them in there. Then again I'm not much of a green thumb. In regards to "life weeds", if a weed is defined by how welcome it is, maybe the trick to life is to simply welcome the "weeds" and then they won't be weeds anymore. Maybe the analogy doesn't stretch that far. Then again, maybe we can accept some of our lesser imperfections, recognizing that they are there, but just a part of life, and then we can relax a little and spend some time enjoying the garden of life.

September 06, 2005 1:29 AM  
Anonymous Marci said...

You also must be careful when you weed not to disturb the soil too much, for this will just create an environment the weeds love. (Like when the alcoholic gives up drinking to chain smoking).If you find drastic measures are the only way to remove a weed, be sure to sow desired seeds and care for them until they are well established. (Maybe A.A. should promote gardening as a replacement to Budweiser.)
Also, sometimes a weed is lovely and isn't invasive, so you might consider leaving it alone. I'd suggest this approach to giving up chocolate. How could anyone suggest such a thing! Throw out the Ding Dongs, but keep the chocolate bar!

October 08, 2005 2:46 AM  

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