I say goodnight to the garden, wish it well and head off to bed. The earth is damp from watering, clean and ready to rest after a long day spent sprouting in the sunshine.
The weeds sneak in overnight. They wait for the darkness to come, push through.
I wake in the morning, and face my choices.
1). I can ignore the weeds. This is by far the easiest option, and initially will have no side effects...for a while. Out of sight, out of mind, I’m off to do something else. But after time, the weeds will twist and tangle together, weighing down and slowing the growth of the good. They will take up space where new sprouts crave to push through. They will overwhelm the garden.
2). I can quickly weed them. Scraping them from the surface, pushing them to the side, everything will look fine in a matter of minutes. A quick fix, no one will know. But when I close my eyes, they will creep back in. I’ll find myself having to clear them out constantly, garden endlessly bogged down.
3). I can put the work in. Get down on my knees and dirty my hands. Reach deep into the earth, down to the root. It’s messy, sloppy--wrestling with things I cannot see. But then I feel it--a slight and satisfying pop--the weed releases it’s hold. I wrap my earth stained fingers around it, inches below the surface, pull it out and toss it away with the others.
By the end of the row, my hands are discolored, my fingernails caked with mud (they will likely stay this way until fall). The garden is clean again. Fresh and renewed. Spinach and beets sprouting, peas pushing through, a blank canvas for goodness to grow.
What is good for the garden, is good for the soul.