Thursday, August 07, 2008

Down on the Farm

When I was a child, I hated weeding. Hated it.

It seemed to go on forever and was the most tedious and boring job possible.

As an adult, I find that I actually kind of like weeding. I might even love it!

It's the one time I can be all by myself, focused on a task and in my own head. There are no babies around, generally no children (It's so boring to watch.) and unless you're doing it with a friend, it's completely quiet.

Except for that pair of Red-tailed hawks circling overhead, crying out to one another. Except for the golden dragonfly flitting by, chased by another dressed in scarlet. Except for the birdsong filling the air. Except for the distant hum of the bees in their skeps.

Golden dragonfly.

Ladybugs abound, in search of their next meal. Spiders skitter away from my gloved hands as I rip, rip, rip at the weeds. Grasshoppers bound from plant to plant, moving away from me. Earwigs dash about, frantic to escape the light. Toads shuffle and thump out of sight.

Slowly, oh so slowly, the tomato plants that have been lost in this sea of purslane, lambsquarters, pigweed, foxtail grass and bindweed are uncovered. Discovered. Recovered.

I try not to let the sheer amount of work in front of me faze me. Instead, sitting, kneeling, squatting on the ground I pull and toss, pull and toss. My focus is entirely on the patch in front of me. I am completely grounded in the here and now. This tomato plant. This handful of weeds.

Pull and toss. Pull and toss.

The sun beats down on my back, but not unbearably so. The soil is moist and cool under my knees. The plants are green and burdened with fruit in various stages of ripening.

Pull and toss. Pull and toss.

Piles of weeds lay behind and beneath me. I am making headway, even if I can't stop to look at it now. I am making a difference: one handful of weeds at a time.

Updated to add dragonfly photo. Also, this post is about way more than weeding. Apply liberally to all facets of your life.


Bobbi said...

Oh, I hate weeding, but it's wonderful food for the compost bin!

Hi, this is my first visit to your site. I found you thru Green Bean, and I will be checking back in.

filthEdesign said...

weeding is definitely one of those tasks where you have to find the "zen" in it :) i can totally get lost in it...

your heading "down on the farm" :) do/have you watch/ed aqua teen hunger force?

there's a scene with carl and some virtual reality glasses - "he's down on the farm if you know what i mean" :) hilarious :)

Jennifer H said...

I hated weeding, too. It seemed I spent my whole summers doing nothing but that.

But the way you write about it here, now? Makes is sound not so bad. Lovely, even.

And metaphorical.

Woman with a Hatchet said...

Bobbi: Hi there! thanks for dropping in! You are correct about composting them, so long as we get the temp up high enough....

Em: Very Zen. It's bad if you get a bad song stuck in your head, though. : )

Jennifer: A ha! You got it! I didn't know if I needed to spell out the metaphor or not. What do you think? This isn't just a post about weeds.

Woman with a Hatchet said...

Oh, Em, I have no idea about ATHF. I'll check youtube. Should I be scared?

Green Bean said...

Beautiful post! I too despised weeding as a child. Out in my front yesterday, I too had the magical sensation at being lost in a sea of plants. A finch landed on a nearby cosmos, to eat its seeds. Bees buzzed about me as I worked.

Embracing the simple tasks like weeding for the miracle that they are is what it's all about.

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

I love weeding, too.

Kimberly said...

I love this post. Weeding is the bane of my existence, but once I'm in the thick of it, I have to admit its rhythm brings about certain peace and serenity.

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