Whew!!! Spent a couple of hours hunched over, pulling out weeds…one, two, three at a time. Only certain weeds seem to proliferate in the shady slope to the left of our front yard, blackberries being the biggest nuisance of all. If I’d have known I’d be pulling them out every year for the last 14 years, I’d have been content with learning to make jelly by the case loads. Don’t fret their demise in that area, however. An overgrowth of blackberries comingled with other vegetation, forms a massive hedge separating our neighbor’s property to the right. I prune it back from time to time, just so it doesn’t feel like we’re being overrun by the Green monster with octopi tentacles.
As I tackled the overgrown patch of weeds, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the ajuga and sweet woodruff I’d planted last summer, and the summer before that, still thrived. Not only did they manage to grow amidst the weeds that were fighting to occupy the same space, but those hardy grouncovers thrived despite drought conditions. With a canopy of evergreen branches overhead, very little rain makes it through to the thirsty plants beneath. It’s survival of the fittest, and as you can see from the picture, there’s no shortage of survivors.
Pulling at the weeds, hundreds of them, I reflected on what it was I was doing. Seeing the ajuga and sweet woodruff, green and strong, as if happy to be free of the entangled brush, made me think of relationships that go unattended. We all get caught up in ourselves, our needs, our passions, our entertainment, our problems, our happiness. It doesn’t help that we no longer engage in personal communication, face to face, talking on the phone, and hand-written letters. Gadgets have replaced all of that. The bells and whistles attached to the “next best thing” are the “robots” which were only fantasy a few decades ago. They allow us to control our interaction with others. With the click of a button, or a point of the cursor, we can pause all communication, or shut it down completely. No excuses necessary; no thought for the other person.
But it’s never too late to clear through the technological barbed wire, and return to the basics of human interaction. It needn’t be etched in flourishes, like my friend Sylvia’s letters written in calligraphy. Putting a stamp on a hand-written card and mailing it the old-fashioned way, picking up the phone to reconnect once-in-awhile so we remember what human voices sound like, or having coffee to catch up on what’s been happening are starters to peeling back the layers of stuff that’s come between.
Relationships, like groundcover, can, and do, survive neglect, if we strip away all the “weeds.” Sometimes a particularly nasty blackberry vine can leave scratches, but in a few days time the marks are gone. A scar or two may remain, but the pain is long over. In some relationships, the passing of time may not erase the scars or the pain. In those instances, a simple “I’m sorry for what I said, or what I did” may be necessary before communication can progress. Just as water is necessary for plants to survive, so too relationships need to be watered with compassion, in the hopes they will grow anew.
Weeds are a bother, but there may be an upside to them after all. I’ll have a little more respect for them when…
i’m yanking them out by the roots…hugmamma. 😉