When I was a child, I did a lot of weeding.
When I became an adult, I put away weeding-ish things.
That lasted for over 20 years. But now, I have come full circle, and have become, to my surprise, a weeder. Dad, if you are reading this, I do apologize for not ensuring you were in a sitting position from the get-go.
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I recently left my part-time job at a wonderful landscape architecture/design-build firm, primarily because it was too far away from my home and was therefore not proving to be worth the drive and being away from home and our home-based business two to three days per week. So hubby and I conferred: if I started doing some of the maintenance work for our clients (read: WEEDING), and if I had more time to devote to running the day to day office operations of our fledgling (but shouldn't be fledgling because we've been at this for five years now) business, then I could very likely help bring in at least the same amount of money as I had been making at this other job.
So I left.
Which is why, on a sunny Thursday afternoon a week or two ago, I had the great good fortune to be weeding a client's garden overlooking San Pablo Bay, with water lapping against the beautiful houses, boats motoring by, sea gulls calling overhead. There I was, doing the work I hated doing as a kid, and enjoying it. Not just enjoying it, but discovering an entirely new experience in it. It was glorious and peaceful.
And extremely satisfying. You see a weed. You pull it. it is gone.
This is quite different than, say, seeing a stray pair of shoes in the living room and asking the person whose feet fit in them to put them away. You see the shoes. You ask a kid to put them away. The shoes stay right where they are. You ask again. The shoes remain. You raise your voice, aware that it is taking some effort to mask the building rage. The kid skitters by, ignoring the shoes and the mother. You expend precious, un-renewable energy screaming at the kid about the god forsaken shoes. The shoes do not move. Exasperated, and convinced of your abject failure as a parent, you storm over to the shoes, pick them up with a ferocity that unnerves you, and blindly fling them -- hard -- into the kid's room, unsure if you care if anyone is in the path of the projectile footwear.
See? Very different.
So now, I have become a weeding fool.
Our annual garden tour is in 2.5 weeks. But that weekend is huge for a handful of other reasons as well: family visiting from out of state...three soccer games on Saturday...an annual and absolutely not-to-be-missed party at the San Francisco Exploratorium, hosted by a company we do lots of business with...and the father-daughter dance at the girls' school. So we cannot, as in years past, be gardening by head-lamp the night before the tour. We must be done by at least Wednesday of that week, which means we have TWO WEEKS.
In times such as these, it's helpful to have a weeding fool in the family. I have been doing so much weeding lately, that when I close my eyes, I see weeds spiraling around in pretty, dizzying patterns. When I am running errands, I notice all the weeds in the cracks of the sidewalk, or in a store's planter boxes, or even on the side of the freeway, and my fingers itch to pull them.
I have discovered that weeding suits me. I sit down on my gardening cushion, armed with a small trowel, and give a long hard look to the patch in front of me, messy and overgrown as it is, weeds taunting me, boldly defying that they can be conquered. But give me enough time, and the weeds are defeated. What is left is a clean patch of dirt, or a clean bed of gorgeous and varied California native plants: rosy buckwheat, California poppies, Douglas Iris, salvia.
For those who complain about the Sisyphean nature of weeding, I say that for mothers, repeated weeding is no burden. The amount of things I have to repeat in a day, or even in a hour, have forever changed my perspective on things I need to repeat once a week or a couple of times a month. Give me a house full of kids who listen to me the very first time I say something and then MAYBE weeding will seem like a chore.
But no. Tending our garden is a joy, one that provides me with a little time and space to think and breathe fresh air. And maybe that's the biggest reason I have enjoyed this new task so much: it's been a long time since I had time and space and fresh air, and I have welcomed them all back with open arms.
I leave my thoughts on weeding as life metaphor for another time...they are far too deep and profound (or is it murky and unformed?) for current publication.
Happy Spring everyone!
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