July 17, 2006

Weeds

Weeds can be a symbol for the messy side of life, so some people dislike them. However, I remember reading that weeds are often escapees from the cultivated gardens of the past which have regrown wild, and were often brought from other places far away.

Queen Anne's Lace is part of the carrot family, and chamomile and asters escaped from colonial farm gardens of long ago. Some high grasses derive from cultivated grains. Their toughness reveals a high level of energy that prevails under harsh conditions.

Appreciating weeds puts me in emotional touch with the strength and wildness at the intersection between the cultivated and pure nature, and the checks and balances between the two. Sometimes weed trees like arborvitae (cedar trees) grow and are the cultivators of soil that has been depleted or damaged, and they make way in time for the fruition and dominance of the dormant seeds of larger and more respected trees such as oaks and maples.

Realizing there are thousands of seeds dormant in the soil, even in urban areas, which are just awaiting their proper conditions to grow is a reminder that we also might have much within us that is just awaiting the right conditions to grow.

It's nice to take attractive weeds and bring them to plant into  window boxes, or cut as flowers for indoor enjoyment.

A number of people have become adept at recognizing the important medicinal and useful aspects of the weeds growing in our parks and coming up between the cracks in the sidewalks. But even if not put to use in some practical way, the sight of them can reconnect us with nature and its strength. The birds and other creatures around certainly like them and make full use of them.

Copyright 2006, Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved.

5 comments:

Cait Shortell said...

I should put you in touch with the weeds in my garden ... up here in Alaska where it's light all day and night they grow double time and my laziness just can't keep up with them.

I always remember the empty lots of San Francisco that became fennel jungles with a fondness. They smelled dirty and marvelous.

Anya said...

Redwood trees are weeds, too. I'm also an herbalist, and often raid unpolluted lots and pavement cracks for plants.

Kala said...

I am always impressed by your depth of knowledge and positivity when reading your post - your style of writing is so artistic and yet very informative - and I whole heartedly agree that weeds can be practical and useful even though people sometimes associate it as being bad, I've seen a lot of beautiful weeds - did not know they had medicinal properties though. I think it would be fun to go walking in the woods with you - you would see so much more than the average person =)

danafaye said...

Wonderful post ... and photo ... thanks for your inspiration.

Lucy said...

Cait - I would love to be in touch with those weeds, I can imagine how truly intense they become taking in all that midnight sun all summer, probably almost something like animals by now...

Anya - I also have taken some weeds in this way, but only for decorative purposes like for windowboxs, but only simple ones like clover and some grasses...

Kala -- thank you for your kind words, I think Anya is really the one who knows so much in depth about all the plants around. I am more a beauty addict, and enjoy the sight of them more than anything else. As you can see in the links there are botanists and others who really do know a lot about the weeds surrounding us everywhere...

danafaye: -- your wonderful posts on Hawaii are truly helpful in maintaining inspiration...