Happy New Year.
Since being home, I found a love for gardening. And not just plant a few pretty flowers wearing gumboots and floral print gloves kind of gardening, but specifically weeding. Sorry, did I hear that right? Yes, hours on your knees, glorious sun burning, back aching, repetitive, continuous weeding. I love weeding. Honestly, it wasn’t just the lovely floral gloves and headscarf that drew my attention to the garden, no; really I discovered how therapeutic it could be!
I mean, have you ever been out weeding and you finally grab the root of the weed and pull until you hear that beautiful, wonderful tearing sound it makes as it is plucked from the soil? I have, and I get a kick out of it every time.
Honestly though, I hate them. They annoy me. They’re like prickly bullies of the plant world. Selfish, pushy and underneath the soil, they’re connected in a subway of roots upon roots upon roots. You start pulling, and one root leads on to another, and then another and then, just when my frustration begins to bubble over the edge, I find it. The father of all weeds, the queen, the motherboard – freak of the garden – the beginning place of all the roots in the bed. I start to dig, and dig, but the deeper I go, so the roots follow, and I learn quickly that when you pull too prematurely, they snap, leaving twice as many roots in the soil, time bombs ticking to rejuvenate when you’re not looking. But determination, frustration and human pride fuel me to finish the life of this beast. I will not let the rebellious take over my land. One more pull, I hear the tear, and she’s out, defeated for another day, thrown into the pile.
Resting back on my ankles, I catch my breath and there’s a pile the size of Everest next to me. I’ve been going an hour and I didn’t even realise. I guess I just got in the zone, letting my mind race free to turn this tackle into a story – ‘unleash the floodgates’ kind of material.
Gardening has been around since our ancient cave-men ancestors and the first humans took their stride upon the ground. Man works the field, on our knees, covered in dirt up our arms and down our shins, sweat creeping the crevice of our back – Bliss? No?
I think so.
My friends call me ‘granny’ – sure, I’m twenty, and I like to spend my afternoons making sure the bugs don’t eat away my spinach leaves, but really I think they’re jealous. Ok, I bet they’re not, but I think through gardening I’ve discovered something about living simply. The joy that comes with being content with little, fires you for a lot. Sure, I’m out there, boots, straw hat, water bottle, sweat, mud and all, but I’m smiling and I’m loving it. This is what happiness should be. Easy.
I turn away from the section I’m weeding, notice more and for a moment, I’m distracted by another pile. Will this ever end? Probably not. Even in life we weed and weed our hearts and minds and it just keeps coming. You fix one, only to find more cleaning to do behind you. And for me, since being home, it has been hard to reconnect back into some things and groups. It’s like trying to put a tree back into the hole you’ve just taken it out of and trying to connect it again with the roots it broke off from. You can’t. Instead you have to plant it and hope that it reconnects to support that provides it rest and strength. You nurture it and protect it, until it can provide on it’s own.
So today, I find joy, digging deep into the soil, getting it in my hair with every flick from the roots I pull. And when I find the biggest one, it’s like me and the weed and nothing else matters. It’s a fight to the death that I intend to win.
I’m done for the day and now it’s shower time, yet as I get up to leave, finished and content, one more weed catches my eye. I bend down, pull it and crush it on the pavement on my stride inside. Another job down, this is bliss.
This is Triumph.