“The soil under the grass is dreaming of a young forest, and under the pavement the soil is dreaming of grass.” – Wendell Berry
There is still a little nip in the air but Spring has sprung in my part of the world and Mother Nature is dusting the earth with the her life producing golden pollen. I laid on my stomach to take this picture of a field of dandelions Sunday much to wife’s chagrin. In my front yard these would be weeds that I would desperately be trying to get rid of. But together, as a whole and in mass this “Field of Weeds” seemed very magical to me. Maybe because it was someone else’s “weed” problem and not mine.
I came upon this “Field of Weeds” on our five-mile trot Sunday up in Brevard, NC. The thing is I don’t trot only my wife does. She walks with a purpose and at a pace that neither fits my physique, temperament or curiosity. I lumber and look. My interest is not in the destination but the journey. I am the Clydesdale to her long-legged Thoroughbred. But as I always remind her, you go as fast as you want just remember I have the car keys.
If Winter is the time to slow down and catch your breath, Spring is the season to get busy, to catch-up and keep-up. My garden is in and looks beautiful. We will be eating fresh lettuce soon, maybe even next week. My Azaleas and Dogwoods are in full bloom as are the perennials I have scattered around my yard. But my grass is a mess and it is the backdrop which makes everything else look beautiful and orderly in my yard.
As I have gotten older, I have found that “order” means less and less to me. In my neighborhood there is a certain expectation on how your yard should look. The neatness of your lawn is a reflection on you and sadly it is a male thing more than a female thing. There is a certain pride in one’s ability to grow grass. For it to be neat, edged and uniform. I reluctantly play the game out of ego and because I live next door to a manic who spends hours each day trying to make his yard look “perfect”. That’s the front yard, the one everyone sees. The space the neighbors walk by every night and judge whether or not we are worthy to reside in this neighborhood. But they can’t see my backyard.
My backyard is wild, filled with as many weeds as it is grass. I keep it mowed and Round-up some of the weeds from time to time but mostly I just let it grow, a space for dogs, birds, chipmunks and squirrels to romp and roam. I used to be more concerned about the “order” of my backyard but I got over it. At 57 years old it just doesn’t seem that important anymore.
This weekend, instead of worrying about all the crazies in Washington find yourself a “Field of Weeds”. Blow on a dandelion puff and scatter the seeds into the wind. Put a crumb of bread on the ground and watch an army of ants perform their magic on it. Or sit among the weeds and do nothing for 30 minutes and listen to sounds of the world around you. You won’t miss anything for those 30 minutes I promise. Whatever was out there needing your attention will still be there. Have a great weekend. Peace.
“Do unto those downstream as you would have those upstream do unto you.” – Wendell Berry