Yesterday I walked into the front yard, completely prepared to embark upon my relaxation task of the day….the weeding of the flowerbed. As I assessed the condition of the flowerbed, I noticed that the majority of the offenders…the weeds, were large in stature and occupied the most coveted real estate. It wasn’t until after I had reached to pull up the first of what would be many, that I realized as I screamed a resounding “OUCH!”, that these seemingly “easy to pull” weeds were covered in thorns from top to root! There were large thorns, medium thorns, and even a few “micro-thorns!” I immediately went in search of my heavy duty garden gloves, the suede ones…built for the toughest of jobs!
After returning properly outfitted in my battle gear, I proceeded to pull each and every one of those thorny demons! With the naked eye, the flowerbed now appeared to be at least over 80% clean, and I felt truly great about this accomplishment, especially since I had taken extra care to get each of these monsters by the root, no coming back next year for you!
I smiled outwardly as I surveyed the piles of thorny corpses boarding the flowerbed…, “Now, on to the easy weeds, the thorn babies!” I thought. It took only a second to realize that I was over dressed, was too prepared for battle where it concerned these thorny tikes. My heavy duty garden gloves were not permitting me to get these little weeds by the root, they were all breaking off just below the soil line…so off came the gloves!
After about an hour and a half, I finished the weeding. The flowerbed looked impeccable, but not without untold battle scars. Not only had it taken me double the time to pull the smallest of the thorny weeds, but my unprotected hands had tons of “micro thorns” embedded throughout! I stared in disbelief as that thing that I love most about interacting with nature took control, those obvious yet subtle life lessons we can learn from nature if only we look.
While initially I had thought that I was attacking the strongest, most dangerous, most offensive thorn monsters in my flowerbed, I now knew without question that it was actually the smallest of these weeds that had wounded me the most, and had taken me the longest time to gain a strong hold, allowing me to pull them out…, root intact! Each time one of these “innocent looking babies” snapped beneath my fingers, whether from my pulling too hard too quickly, or my just having pulled when I should have dug a bit farther, I could hear that voice of reason in my mind saying; “Well, there’s another one that will be springing back up sooner or later, since the root is still buried within the soil.”
Again, here’s what I love the most about convening with nature on any level….it will teach you powerful life lessons if only you look closely enough. So what powerful life lesson did I learn yesterday right in my own front yard? I learned that sometimes in life when you settle in and look closely, things aren’t always what they appear to be. I learned that in some situations it is better to attack the smaller more unassuming challenges first, rather than always assuming the best plan of action is to take out the biggest and strongest first. And finally, I learned that no matter what, always leave some form of protection on, something that can repel or counteract those “micro-thorns” that will unknowingly work their way under our skin.
Today’s moral of the story is: When grabbing life by the roots, always be prepared for the unexpected, know that you will never be completely finished weeding, there will always be something that comes back to test your resolve, and finally…as long as you maintain more healthy plants in your flowerbed than weeds…you are nurturing a life that you can surely be proud of!
Loren Michaels Harris