It was 2010, and my husband, daughter and I had just moved into our home. The home was spectacular, and one of my favorite places was the garden. My husband and I would get into the hot tub (a hot tub!!) at night and talk about how it felt like we were staying at a vacation house. Dozens of strawberries dotted the terraced garden along with 8 different colored roses. An 80 year old dwarf lemon tree was a testament to the garden’s success. It felt magical being out there. I would talk to my mother on the phone and slowly pull weeds, removing any speck of whatever I didn’t want in our special place.
Friends came to visit and I would proudly show off our garden. I took a lot of credit for the way it looked because of my dedicated weeding game, but honestly, we bought the place with the backyard looking on point. A married couple we have known for years came by for the afternoon one day. The wife of the duo is an incredible gardener. She pointed out various types of plants, none of which I can remember now. I asked her if she could identify bunches of little white daisies that were cropping up everywhere.
“What are these? They’re everywhere and they’re so cheerful!”
“Oh, those are weeds.” I felt a little foolish for not knowing that. But I refused to pick them during my phonecall-weeding excursions. They looked too happy, springing up everywhere they had a chance. No, I would spend time taking out those little bits of grass and those god damn weeds with the stickers that attach to your clothes.
I got pregnant with Jay, had Jay, Jay died, got pregnant with Floyd, raised Floyd for one year and here we are now.
The years 2011-2015 were filled with many things, none of them gardening related. Our backyard splendor slowly disappeared. Some of the rose bushes died, our strawberry patch is, well, patchy at best, weeds have cropped up in every nook and cranny and once healthy, robust bushes have turned into dark brown, dead masses.
Yesterday and today I spent Floyd’s 2 naps outside weeding the hell out of our property. It’s been so long since I’ve really even looked at our garden. I started thinking of our backyard as my head. There’s just a bunch of crap that’s grown out of control lately. Fears and anxiety have overgrown so deeply that I can’t see the goodness that was planted long ago. Negative thoughts have gotten so tall, the roots deepening with each passing day, that they’re taking the water from the good things I used to tend to.
I filled bag after bag after bag of dead shit, long grass with roots that reach to the depths of hell and thistle that will make you utter the C word too many times. But my mind was quiet. I’d pull up grasses and then wait patiently while spiders with white bodies scrambled out of the way before I scooped the remnants into my bin. I thought about how I was making my garden simpler. Removing waste so that I could see what was planted on purpose. The good things that were intentionally planted so long ago were still there, just hidden.
Minds must be tended. Some things should never be planted, but when they are, don’t water it. Take it out. Random plantings will sprout up like they do in any garden. If you don’t stay on top of them, they will grow and spread until it’s hard to see anything else. It might even be so invasive that some of your good plantings will suffer terribly.
There is still a lot of work to do
in my head in the garden. But it’s getting cleared. Good things are slowly being planted. And those cheerful little daisy weeds? I still keep those. Not every weed is a bad one. Just stay away from those fucking stickers.