There were a lot of words written in The Star this week about the feel-good effect of picking up trash in public places. I am here to speak of what for me is a highly therapeutic act: pulling weeds.
Regular readers of this column will know about my on-again-off-again gardening. Although I have for years been fascinated by growing plants from seed, life generally interferes. The ambitious dreams of March and April never seem to be fully reflected in July and August’s outcome. All was not a bust this year, however. For the first time, I have a few dahlias and zinnias in raised beds near the driveway, and a friend’s French marigold seeds changed my mind about these low, usually boring plants.
Setting up the garden beds, I spent a lot of time contemplating crabgrass. It may have gotten so named for its habit of expanding sideways, but it also has the tenacity of a crab burrowed down in a sandy bay bottom, refusing to budge. With practice, I became competent in teasing out the rhizomes linking one tuft to another, avoiding the poison ivy along the way.
If there were a grand prix of weeding, it would be ridding grass from between patio or walkway bricks without toxic herbicides like RoundUp. There is no way that I am going to apply that stuff at my place, nor would any of my friends, I hope. Without chemicals, hard labor is the only safe way to go.
Over coffee the other morning at a friend’s house, I plopped down on a brick path and began tugging at the weeds. We chatted about not much at all, taking in the sun and birdsong as I became absorbed in the meditative practice. It was a fine way to start the day — and the bricks looked fabulous when I was done.