Saturday, June 20, 2015

ONE PERSON’S WEED – Making Room For Life

I recall the first time I owned the adage, “One person’s weed is another’s wild flower.”* I’d been agonizing over my poor little lawn’s being swallowed up in creeping Charlie.

On its surface, creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederacea, a member of the mint family) is a fine plant, with gorgeous little lavender-violet, orchid-like flowers, fuzzy, scalloped-edge leaves and, perhaps best of all, an aromatic, sweet-spice aroma when handled. But it seemed its true nature was to "creep" relentlessly in tough tendrils, rooting anew as it spread and consuming everything in its path.

PHOTO: Artem Topchiy / Wikimedia Commons

I liked my grass. Even though it turned brown every fall, at least it kept its carpet-like texture, something I was afraid Charlie would not do. More than just my yardmate's behavior, though, it was that he was, well, uninvited.

I tried pulling it—kind of satisfying, like peeling off dried rubber cement from your fingers, but an endless battle. I raked it—that was like trying to comb one's hair with a hair net on. Finally, I went the most drastic route and sprayed it with borax, which, the instructions warned, I’d better do right or the monster would become resistant.

I didn’t…and it did.

I was still scheming when I learned that, in England, this wolf in sheep’s clothing is cultivated and sold in hanging baskets. People actually pay for it! Well, I thought, maybe this merits reconsideration.

       The difference is more profound than 
       one of perceptions; it is one of the spirit.

There’s great meaning and power for us human beings in controlling our environments. We like to choose what shares our space—you know, a sort of Manifest Destiny thing.

But so many of life's challenges are like plants; if we cannot see a place for them in our lives, they are weeds. But if we can bring ourselves to fully embrace their right to co-exist with us in the vast oneness of life, they become wildflowers. Not just unobtrusive companions, but our beautiful friends.

The difference is more profound than one of perceptions; it is one of the spirit, one that sees, more clearly than eyes can, that weeds grow around us; wildflowers, well, we grow around them.

Birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus), declared an unwanted, invasive species in Minnesota.

* Though I believed I originated this little truism, it’s credited at some quotes websites to Susan Wittig Albert, in her book, An Unthymely Death and Other Garden Mysteries.


jean said...

I have a yard full of dandelions, and I love their color when in full bloom and also when they go to seed, they feed lots of little titmice (?) so I appreciate them doubly! But I had one neighbor complain that I was "breeding" dandelions and they were sure to contaminate the neighborhood. Well, I just smiled and let the dandelions grow! :)

Jeffrey Willius said...

Good for you, Jean. Probably beneficial to the endangered bee population too!

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