Last week, in a rare moment of green thumbiness, I found myself helping my Backyard Farmer husband out by weeding the row of zinnias that he recently planted along our driveway. Zinnas are one of my faves, by the way, as my mom always grew them in her garden when I was a kid, and Ben and I even had some of her own zinnias as table decoration at our wedding almost 10 years ago, so you know – they are special to me. I love that Ben plants them for me now at our house, so it was nice to get out and help him a bit, even though it was hot and muggy as hell during the time I was out there doing it.
As I was pulling along, I came to one medium sized zinnia plant that darn near came out of the ground when I started to pull the weed that I thought was just next to it. Turns out the weed and the flower were pretty closely entwined and just like that, All the Things – all the metaphors and messages about life that we can get from weeding a row of flowers – came rushing at me. Call it a side effect of life as a teacher (the words and the yogs), but here are a few of the biggies:
- The weed was totally propping up the flower, and man, do I get that. Sometimes we get bad into bad habits, cycles, relationships and we allow something that is actually unhealthy to support us. Except we all know what happens in those toxic situations, eventually the weed takes over and the flower can no longer thrive. And in this case, when I pulled the actual weed, the flower itself looked weaker and droopier than it had before I took out the bad neighbor; I’m happy to report now, a week later, that the flower is standing tall and strong and solo, which is to say, even though it can be rough, we do not need to keep going with the bad habits, cycles, relationships because we can do it on our own (tyvm).
- You can’t just go yanking stuff out of the ground (your life/heart/world) blindly. If I hadn’t been paying attention in that moment, I would have totally torn out the perfectly fine zinnia along the creeper weed because that’s how closely they were connected. It didn’t matter that I had my hands on the weed – what mattered was where the weed itself was hanging on, too. And not everything is meets the eye, easy to see, either. Sometimes we cannot see the weeds in our life as weeds, at least not at first. So be sure to take care and take second looks. It would be an awful shame to rip out something good/beautiful/healthy because it was too close to something other. While we shouldn’t be afraid to tend, we should also do so mindfully and with eyes as wide open as possible.
- Clearing space – clearing ground – is a good and healthy thing to do. So is getting your hands in the dirt, although I definitely don’t do that as often as I should. But do you know how satisfying this was? Just clearing a few feet of weeds from a single row of flowers did me a ton of good, and I’ll take it because it’s about as much as my back will allow anyway, but when you think about the implications such an action can have in any other facet of life? They are huge. The literal stuff. The emotional stuff. Just the stuff in general. It all needs some airing out, wouldn’t you agree? And what comes when we create that space? Big, beautiful blooms.
So what else gets weeded out from here for me? Well, hard to say. But we’ve got some big changes to our schedule coming with the start of school this year, so priorities and boundaries and yes, weeding, are going to be key to survival. What beauty will come? Well, also hard to say, but exciting to see the potential blooms whenever they do arrive.