Monday, July 21, 2008

A Passion for Weeding

I have a strange passion. I love to weed. This does not seem to be the case for many other gardeners. (Am I mistaken about that?) For me it's relaxing. Weeding is like meditating. No, it's like walking meditation. I don't have to sit still, which is very difficult for me, and I get some peace and quiet. Sometimes I can clear my mind. Sometimes I write stories in my head. It's a catharsis when I'm upset about something. I use the time to solve all my problems or empty my head of negative thoughts. Weeding makes me feel whole and comforted. In fact, it is probably one of my favorite things to do.

The main problem is that I don't have as much time to weed as I would like. I don't mind that when I finish weeding the yard I have to start all over again -- I don't REALLY mind. But, I would just once like to see a whole neat and tidy yard before the weeds strut their stuff again. Yesterday, I was quite pleased with a whole neat garden and today the weeds are poking through again. (How do they do that so quickly?) My other problem with weeding...well, I once had lovely long polished fingernails. I gave up trying to keep them during the summer time. In the wintertime, they spend the season recovering from their summertime trauma.

When I was young, my dad would weed wherever he went. He weeded our gardens in long sessions. He weeded on his way to the mailbox. He weeded after he went running, on his way to the pool...whenever. He not only weeded whenever. He also weeded wherever. If we were standing in a neighbor's yard and he saw a weed, he would pluck it. From what I remember we could travel 1000 miles to visit friends and my dad would start weeding their yard. I am turning into my dad. The other day I found myself apologizing to a friend for picking her weeds. Last week a friend sighed and told me that she had to go home to weed. I volunteered to help her -- only too glad to branch out to another person's weeds. It actually turned into an even greter thing than I expected. She supplied the wine for an impromptu weeding party. I highly recommend weeding with a glass of wine at hand!

I have a game I play. I have a brick path that leads around my yard. Any time I walk on this path, I must pick a weed. If I skip it one time, I must pick two weeds the next time. Is this crazy?

My favorite type of weeding is the messiest kind. I stick bare fingers deep into wet soil and yank the plant out by the root. In general, I weed with gloved hands, stooped over or on my heels. I try to bend at the knee when I can. When I bend at the waist and catch myself, I begin to wonder if I will like weeding as much if I have a bad back in ten years or so. I supposed that I could always get one of those wheeling seats for gardening, but I think that would ruin my rhythm a bit. I do not always weed a complete plot of land and move on. I twitter about. Sometimes I go for the big weeds first. Sometimes I go for obvious ones and weed multiple gardens at a time. Sometimes I pick a certain kind of weed, such as dandelions and remove all of those from the yard. Sometimes I weed a little then prune a little then go back to weeding. This year, I seem to mostly be weeding a different patch of garden each day. I'll use a hoe once in awhile, but it's not as thrilling as using my hands and the metal part of my hoe comes off the stick. ( I haven't gotten around to fixing it or buying a new one in 7 years. I don't take great care of my gardening tools, truth be told.)

Weeding by hand allows me to be closer to nature. I adore worms and this is the best way to get to know them. I can thank them for the work they do. I can really experience their expertise when my hands are in the dirt, releasing the weeds from the aerated soil. I appreciate individual plants more when I see them eye to eye. Brushing against lavender as I go is a special treat or seeing a favored plant beginning to spread itself across the garden. This is the closest I can get to the wonders of my gardens.

I wonder if others enjoy weeding as much as I do. What is your favorite way to weed and do you enjoy it?


Daphne said...

I love to weed too, as long as it isn't for hours. 30 minutes is my favorite. But I always weed the same. I have my yard divided into sections and I weed one section. So it looks perfect and I can ooh and ahh over how it looks. The only place that I half weed is my vegetable garden. Since I'm there every morning, I always pick just a couple of weeds, whatever seems to be out of hand at the moment. So it never gets really bad.

Lucy said...

I think I most enjoyed this of all your posts that I've read.