Mortal Combat

So I've run away from home and am staying at my parent's house for a few weeks in hopes that it will speed my recovery so that I can get on with my life, as though "life" is only what happens when you're well.

My mother has had the yards on a timed watering system while she was away for two weeks, and had been wondering whether it had worked as planned and how all the plants were doing.  So when we got in from the airport late last night, the first thing we did was inspect the garden.  The watering system worked (mostly).  Her plants had thrived.  So had the weeds.

So this morning I got up and thought that I would spend some time pulling weeds, in a fit of romantic Benedictinism.  Thing is, I had forgotten that pulling weeds is a form of mortal combat.  Those suckers do not want to come up.  I like pulling the weeds that pop up between the cracks in the walkway, because they have such shallow roots that they don't give much of a fight.  It's satisfying and doesn't require much effort.  But the ones in the middle of the yard are really entrenched.

Now, the metaphorical possibilities of weed-pulling are so obvious as to be almost pure cliche, but bear with me -- I haven't gardened in years.  (The closest I've come since the turn of the millennium was when I was an affectionado of an organic gardening show on WHYY in Philadelphia, but I was living in a cinderblock cell on the umpteenth story at the time, so I never actually put the theory into practice.)

Anyway.  You wrestle with the weeds and can't help thinking that it would be so much easier just to pick weeds rather than pull them, and it would have the same immediate effect of removing the eyesore from your front lawn.  But you know that you have to get at the root of the problem or it's just going to keep popping back up again and again, even though dealing with the root is more painful and more work.  So with life; I want quick fixes to my problems, I want to remove the symptoms and ignore the problem under the surface.  But that's not going to provide anything more than a temporary reprieve.

Not especially profound, I know.  But somehow it makes more sense when you're hunched over in the garden battling with a stubborn weed, knowing that you will have something to show for your work when all is said and done.  So I fought with the weeds and prayed for myself and my friends who need the strength and courage to pull things up by the roots.


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