Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Into the Weeds



I threw my Cape Cod weeder into the weeds on the other side of this stone wall today. I didn't mean to. For those of you in the know, a Cape Cod weeder is the absolutely best weeding tool in the world. Only a fool would throw theirs over a stone wall into the weeds because the small company who made them no longer does. So, you are probably wondering right now, is Whitewave trying to tell us she is a fool? Perhaps I am, but I also think this impulsive, unconscious act may be a sign of the innate wisdom of my body rising up through the soles of my bare feet into my arm which flung that weeder over those ancient stones into that very tangled thicket.

As a permaculturist, I am opposed to weeding. As a forager, I know that weeds are only plants that are not socially acceptable. Weeds are food and medicine, teachers and healers. However, I occasionally violate my code of ethics and pull them up, usually when my physical sustenance is at stake. I don't say survival, because that was not the case at all, but I do like having a roof over my head, and right now that roof is a very comfortable one. After a  few years of boats, buses and basements I was happy to pull up a few weeds in exchange for a bathtub and a kitchen and a stunning view of the ocean with a private path to the beach.

So there I was weeding around the edge of the house today, tossing the unwanted plants over the wall to be swallowed by the thicket. Felco pruners in one hand, I guess the Cape Cod weeder was in the other--the one which also held the weeds. With one toss all was gone. At first I couldn't believe what I had done. I loved that Cape Cod weeder. It has been through years of hard work with me. It even spent two winters outdoors since there were two winter I left it outside on the grass at my last gardening jobs of the season. I went back in the spring and sheepishly asked the homeowners if they'd seen it. It always came back to me, good as ever.

For a moment I was dismayed at what I'd lost. I climbed up on the stone wall and gazed down into the thicket. No poison ivy, but the bittersweet, Virginia Creeper, multiflora roses, and blackberries were an intimidating sight. I wasn't going in there. Who knows where the ground was beneath that tangle. For all I knew I would step into it and end up down the rabbit hole or be dragged under the hill by some gnomes. For those of you who know me, you might think I would find these prospects appealing, but since I have recently committed myself to making a go at being a fully grounded human, I stepped down from the wall, gave the weeds a salute, and laughed inside at how they were teaching me in ways I'd never expected when I began my adventures as a forager.

No more weeding allowed. That's the message I heard. I promise I will do my best, my friends. In exchange, will you give me the strength of your roots?

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