It doesn’t matter who hurt you, or broke you down. What matters is who made you smile again - Anonymous
The other day I went out to hack away some of the overgrown weeds around my father’s house. He’s not able to tend to them anymore, so I do what I can to control the tangle of greenery. They look like they’re victims of some botanical form of highway robbery, reaching for the sky as if they’re going to be shot.
I know I can be a vegicidal maniac, but I don’t shoot the shoots. Rather, I chase after them a bit like Freddy Kruger or Michael Myers of horror movie fame, slashing at them with garden shears, rusty hoes, or chattering hedge trimmers. If that doesn’t make your sap run cold, you ain’t got no sap! Speaking of saps …
Summers in the Pacific Northwest are absolutely amazing. Things grow so fast out here. A yard can be wonderfully landscaped, each plant shaped and sized to fit its tract ever so perfectly, but within a year, it becomes a jungle. Invading Triffids would stand no chance against the local flora. Even as careful as I am, as well-equipped and well dressed as I am for my assault on the overgrown brambles of life, they do not go quietly into the bin for garden clippings. They have their own plan of attack, snagging anything and everything they can find.
It’s no wonder I’m not overly fond of yard work. I am sure I leave a pint of blood for every ounce of sap they leave behind. I like to think of myself as a man of peace, but the shrubs have made a bushwacker of me, instead. I should “leaf” them alone.
That’s easier said than done, of course. I was out spraying dandelions the other day (a real pain in the grass, if you ask me) and a neighbor noted in passing, “You know, if dandelions were hard to grow, we’d treasure them the same as we do our roses or orchids. They’re actually kind of pretty.”
When you think about it, it’s true. When I peek at a dandelion, I see a weed, but it’s not all that unpleasant to look at. A weed, as we are told, is just a flower that grows where you don’t want it. Every spring I head out and admire the fields of daffodils and tulips in the Skagit Valley, and yet whenever I see a lawn that’s more dandelion than grass, I’m offended. Why is that?
Who made me a judge over the world’s botanical delights – to decide what is worthy and what isn’t? At the end of the plant planting day, did God say, “It is good” or “Ew, ick, dandelions!”?
God found everything in creation to be delightful. Do honeybees avoid dandelions? Of course not!
I have only been stung three times in my life by honeybees and, ironically, all three occurred on the same day, and each bee was on a dandelion I had carelessly trampled while barefooted. I was about twelve years of age at the time, and I learned two things. One, watch where I step, and two, wear shoes … period.
Bees don’t seem to care whether the flower they milk for nectar is a weed or something else. What they care about is that it has what they need for the health and well-being of the hive. A flower is their gold; they need not dig for it, nor do they need to melt it down or refine it. They do not destroy the flower, kill it, or crush it. They simply flit from plant to plant, benefiting the entire field by transferring pollen from one plant to the next.
I’ve gotten to that stage in life where I’m less interested in pulling weeds, and more interested in sitting in the back yard, sipping a spot of tea (with a touch of honey) and appreciating how plants are contributing more to the health of our planet than I am with my hacking and wheezing.