Tenacious Weeds


I got the worst of the weeds out of raised bed #15 yesterday. The worst are thistle, and this bed had a lot of thistle. It’s the worst because it will come back and because it stings my hands if I casually pull it without wearing gloves.

Dandelions are a close second. They put down deep taproots and often come back thicker and stronger.

There are two ways to get these weeds out of the garden: spray them with herbicide or pull and pull and pull until they give up. (They almost never give up.)

No wonder this weeding has made me think about cancer. Because last year we fed all the poison we could into my veins to kill the cancer and then we carved out via surgery whatever was left.

Of course I don’t use herbicide on the garden. After all, I’m growing food in there! But also, I can live and the garden beds can thrive with a certain amount of weed activity. As long as I maintain the garden and keep pulling and cutting out the weeds as they pop up– and use my handy hula hoe for the small stuff– the food plants will be fine. The bed will be healthy.

I’d also much prefer not to put any more poison in my body. I’m growing good cells in there! Skin and hair and nails and also white and red blood cells and digestive aid cells and organ cells of all types.

The surgery, also, was “optimal.” Nothing visible left behind. I think of that whenever I am able to dig in and then pull a dandelion that yields its entire root. So satisfying. Right now there are a lot of thistle plants peeking out of the yak compost we dumped in two beds, but again those pull out easily and completely. The surgeon gave us reason to believe that the taproot had not gotten very far. The oncologist, though, let me know that Stage IV means a lifetime of “watchful waiting” for what may return.

It’s really a drag to see a large amount of weeds popping up in the compost pile. Cancer is also a huge drag. But in the garden, we can go in and dig and hoe and restore order. I am in control. And like the baths I took every week of treatment, there is a good deal of nurturing that follows up. And in the end, food.

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2 Responses to Tenacious Weeds

  1. Reva says:

    Susan, what a beautiful, encouraging post. I am going to church this morning and will pray for all our life affirming cells!

  2. Jane OBrien says:

    I am awed by the tenacity of weeds, especially those with very deep taproots, and those with imaginative seed-spreading mechanisms. When I was doing my best work at a place that didn’t appreciate or nurture me, and in fact would have liked to have found a way to fire me, I often meditated on myself as a weed.

    I also read once that rye is a weed, and it was so persistent and pervasive that eventually farmers in norther Europe got tired of weeding it out of their wheat and rye bread started to be a thing.

    Weeds speak to me of fortitude and a passionate desire for life. I find myself admiring them even as they flourish in my garden where I don’t want to see them.

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