Tonight, my husband and I went to my parents’ house to help them with some gardening work. They have several nicely landscaped and mulched areas, but they haven’t really been able to get around to weeding and mulching them yet.

We spent an hour pulling and digging and grunting and squatting and bending over. Honestly, I did most of the grunting and complaining, because I’m kind of dramatic that way. We filled up two wagon-loads with weeds and invasive plants and dumped them in the woods. OK. Honestly, HE dumped them in the woods.

Even though I got filthy and sweaty and kept forgetting i shouldn’t use a muddy, mulchy glove to push my hair out of my face? It was amazingly fun. I already hurt. My poor knees. I have elderly knees, I fear.

It also got me thinking about roots. I mean, above the ground, there is this green thing. Maybe tall and spindly. Maybe with dark green, broad leaves. Maybe with odd, purplish pods. And you look at that thing, and you think, that’s that. That’s a plant. That’s what I need to pull up.

And I understand that you need to pull things up by the roots. But man!

The roots are a whole other world. They are colorless, and dirty, and stinky. They are spindly and strong. They are wide, and when you pull them up, stuff moves. The surface does not look the same, just without the plant. Mulch that was underground is now above the ground. Worms and spiders erupt from the ground at the disturbance. The roots break and run.

Tonight, I was pulling tall grass. The really thin stuff with a little plume on the end (not a gardener). And you’d think – OK, easy! It’s skinny. It can’t have these gnarly roots like the blue things! And it doesn’t. The roots are thin. But they also snake up to a foot away! So pulling up the grass upsets lost of other stuff. Even stuff I didn’t want to pull out of the ground came up because pulling the grass root up just kind of bumped the other stuff out.

So, of course all of this got me thinking metaphorically. And I was thinking how sometimes when you get the root of weeds in your life, you accidentally knock some other plants out of the dirt too. But, I guess the good thing about plants and dirt, even metaphorically, is that with some care, you can usually get things to grow again.


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