Even as a suburban homeowner I couldn’t get my head around trying to kill “weeds”. They seemed as green as grass, easier to grow and maintenance free. My neighbors didn’t always share my cavalier attitude towards chickweed, plantain, clover and dandelions but they also didn’t border the overgrown meadow at the edge of the neighborhood like I did. Resistance was futile, the grass would be assimilated. Secretly I loved the little flowers and the variety across the span of my own little half-acre. Now I’m older and live in a nice townhouse community where the lawn is not my business or concern. I miss the weeds.
My interest in weeds has been renewed by my studying to become a master herbalist. Retirement approaches and I needed to fire up my passion for, well, anything. Many years in the health care industry have left me feeling exhausted. I entered the nursing field because I loved the idea of preventing illness. I was naive, prevention is not what health care has been about. I did make a decent living, raise a family and hopefully helped many folks along the way. Now I’m ready to get back to what I love, wellness. And it turns out wellness wants weeds.
Now that I have embarked on my studies I can more easily identify those pesky weeds and realize what I suspected all along; they are not a problem but a huge helper to us reluctant humans. Those weeds can support and nourish us. I venture out to find my plant friends and sometimes have to look pretty hard. No longer next to the meadow, I live in a land of sidewalks, groomed areas and cultivation. But at the edge of the woods, the sloped part of a bank or between rocks you can find those beautiful weeds thriving in spite of it all. I do try to select weeds that aren’t near the road or sprayed by pesticides or dogs. I am having great fun spending hours outside identifying different types of plants and finding the spots they have decided to grow. Weeds are so resilient.
All my deep thoughts about weeds lately have made me see all the parallels to life. Weeds are always up against everyone trying to destroy them but they adapt, move over and persevere. Even the way we look at them presents a lesson in life itself. Some may look at them as a pest, threatening the tidiness of a manicured lawn. Others look at them as a gift that bring nourishment and healing. Aren’t many problems in life all a matter of perspective and how we decide to react to them? You say problem; I say opportunity to learn something. You say “weeds”; I say lunch! You say “invasive”; I say abundant and inviting. Good old weeds, might as well learn to love them and let them help you out. Just like change and troubles, weeds are ever-present and sticking around.