Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Lessons from a Weed
I could write a total epic Michener novel about what I have learned about myself from weeds. It's true. Think about it. Weeds flourish in parched land while most flowers with the exception of succulents, perish. They can't stand the heat, the relentless summer sun without moisture. We are in a heat wave where I live and also we are in a moderate drought. I am an early rise by nature. Even before I married and had children, I was an early riser. My mom always said that I was in a hurry to live each day. That's one way to put it. I have learned that I get more accomplished when I start early and I poop out about mid afternoon and need a recharging! Okay, my ADD is kicking in again. I didn't really mean to throw that in, but, since I said it and just read it, I can dance ahead to complete the thought about weeds.
I am an indiscriminate gardener. If there is a spot in my garden . . . heckfire, if there is a spot anywhere in my landscape that I think needs something there, I will fill it. I have been known to go foraging in the woods looking for the perfect
woodland specimen to fit under one of my sprawling oaks, or to hide delicately beneath my beloved pussy willow.
I even use weeds. Yes, you read right, weeds. I know some folk that call anything a weed! But a weed to some is a ground cover or flowering grass to me!
Take for example the lowly bugle weed. Now that's it's common name. It is now being sold in garden spots under the name Ajuga. I have it growing all around my yard. My hubby mows it over calling it a weed. When I first spotted my bugle weed, I quickly called my sister, Cat. She is as much a weed lover as myself, often accompanying me on treks through the hills and hollers we live on.
Me: Cat! I found some bugle weed!
Cat: Save some for me! I know right where to put it!
Me: Wait! I have to tell you that the buttercups in the back field are opening up!
Cat: I'll bring my trowel!
Buttercups, bugle weed, gil go o'er, are all wonderful weeds to me. I know them by sight immediately in their early stages and gently pluck them from where they have been blown the previous season. I then place them where I can enjoy their beauty. You just need to find the right place to stick them where they will be happy. People are like that. I know you have heard the old saying, you can take the man out of the country but you can't take the country out of the man. Wherever they are at, they carry some of their "raising" with them. If I notice a flowering weed - (which by the way, more times than not, they are an herb) I notice it's surroundings. What is it that caused this particular plant to take hold there. I sweet talk to it the whole time I am digging it up telling it how happy it is going to be in my garden. It can be a prince surrounded by an array of nodding subjects.
A truly regal, no, majestic weed is Mullein. Erect and proud in my backyard at over 6 foot, these specimens can grow to over 10 foot tall. Their grace is matched only by their ability to withstand the heat of the summer sun without wilting. Mullein is actually an herb that is seen growing along the sides of the road in ditches, accepting the total disregard of passers by who fling their McDonald's bags at them. Oil from the flowers have been used for centuries for pulmonary ills. In fact, it is distilled today for many cough remedies. It also has anti bacterial agents in it. It makes a wonderful ochre dye from the golden flower heads.
I sow a lot of seed each year. Perrennials seeds, annual seeds ~ most I have gathered from my own, some I pluck from a friend's garden, some I order. In each batch of seed, there is always a weed that will pop up next to it. I let the weed grow until I decide if it is a prince, pauper or interloper. But above all, watching something grow from the ground up is a joy. It reminds me that life is a cycle. We come from the dust and return there. I remind myself when I look at the mullein to look cool, calm and collected when the heat gets turned up and to reflect the natural beauty that God has placed within me.
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. (Matt. 6:28-29)