Picture Snob

March 19, 2010

On changable weather and the benefits of weeding

All in a day, we go from this:
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to this:
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Just when you think spring has really come, it snows. Last night I heard the plopping and dropping on the roof and the satellite connection went out. This morning there is about an inch on the ground. It is frozen and cold and the daffodils are bent over. The plum tree which had just opened it's white flowers is now covered in white snow. Last week I was hunting for t-shirts and today I'm wearing my heavy wool sweater. So it goes.

Gardeners are always pushing the spring season. I have managed to get a little bit of weeding done on the flower beds. It has to be warm enough for me to tolerate getting my hands in the soil which is usually cold and mucky. I'm always thinking while I do this that there's got to be an easier way. Every year it's the same routine, pulling the grass, the plantain, the selfheal, and staying on top of the soil because if I dig down, I hit the bulbs and roots of the perennials.

Still when the temperature is right, the day sunny enough that the cold soil feels good, weeding is a very thoughtful activity. The Jungians talk about "the task" like sorting beans or separating wheat from chaff as an organizing principal and usually there is a gift or boon to one who completes it. The task is slow, tedious and painstaking. You have to pay attention to detail. And indeed, weeding is that kind of task. You separate the plants you want from the others and while you sort and pull, you mind prioritizes and orders the issues of your life. It happens naturally without an effort. Yes this, but no, not this. Weed pulled out; seedling left. When you're finished and the flower bed looks clean and ready for new growth, the mind likewise feels cleansed and free from the nagging tugs and pulls of half formed thoughts or emotions unrecognized. They have been noticed and discarded or, if worthy of keeping, put in perspective. Weeding is also an exercise which promotes mental health, and combined with a lovely flower bed is the boon granted one who performs "the task".

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Posted by Marilyn Renaker at March 19, 2010 8:50 AM
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