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Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Gift of Perspective

Through a child's eyes, everything is beautiful and worth sharing.

Taking part in a recent neighborhood cleanup, a group of us remarked that from a distance the flowerbeds we were asked to weed looked pretty good. Only when we got up close did we notice all the fallen twigs beneath the bulb foliage, the smothering layer of matted leaves no perennial could burst through, the singularly stubborn blades of errant grass.

The devil's in the details, so the saying goes. Suddenly there was a lot of work.

But it was a beautiful morning, and as I walked home afterwards I considered the time well spent. I rounded the corner to my street. As I got closer to home my eyes played tricks on me. The farsightedly homogenous patches of green in my yard shifted into distinct forms, and -- oh, no! -- there were lots of WEEDS!

I walked around my yard, front and back, my eyes simply the window office for a furious little taskmaster list-maker in my head. Oh, just look at all that has to be done! I lamented. Dandelions, bindweed and clover, oh my! I'll never catch up.

What had happened? Of course, bionic or not, the weeds had been there before I left that morning. Why, all of a sudden, were the details so distressing to me?

I worked through the afternoon, hardly making a dent, I thought. The next day I sauntered into the shady backyard. It was a day of rest. Besides, the dress I was wearing almost kind of sort of stopped any chance of my picking up a shovel. I sat on my lawn just to enjoy the blue birds and yellow-striped finches flitting from crabapple blossom to pine tree branch. I leaned back, dismissed the weeds I saw and instead counted how many new raspberry starts have emerged.

You know, details.

Wait . . . Marvelous, glorious details.

Thoroughly refreshed, I had an epiphany of sorts. I love working in my garden because of the progression. Further, being on the gardening frontlines gives me an unparalleled view of nature. It is when I'm tending to the undesirable aspects of gardening, like weeding, that I tend to notice the grandeur of the small stuff.

Long live gardening chores! It would be a shame if I ever got caught up.

(These images are from my yard this spring. If they weren't so darn close up you'd see plenty of weeds lurking in the background, but who's telling?)



Unknown said...

Great article Jennifer, and the pictures are amazing!

Hilary said...

thanks for reminding me that the sometimes the "to do list" can be put down and the entirety/wholeness of a situation can be considered. I love how you were able to get in touch with the natural movement and beauty of even the weeds.

AJK said...

The Photography is GREAT!

Weeds aren't such a bad thing... Dandelions are edible! And they distract the aphids from your veggies, and the taproot on those suckers loosen up the soil and allow water and air to permeate the soil deeper.

Tea Rose said...

Can I just say, glad to know others go crazy over their weeds too! I have developed a method over the years in our home that works for how we live. I tend to the front yard, weed and keep everything tidy...but the backyard, naw! I am forced to weed the garden beds, but as for the yard, I don't do a thing except mow it because otherwise my chickens would have nothing to peck and explore in - or at least this is how I pacify my inner taskmaster. :-)

Unknown said...

For a great post on edible weeds, you guys should all check out AJK's blog.

Tea rose, good idea on picking weeds. The beginning of spring, I get my beds prepped and ready, pull all of the weeds and everything. Then, each day, I tell myself I only have to pick 4 weeds in each bed, that way I don't get overwhelmed. I end up picking way more than that, but if I go into it thinking I have to pick 'all these weeds', I would never even start. I just do a little each day.