Saturday, July 16, 2011

If a weed has a soul

Listen to this post:

Gardens have been on my mind for a number of reasons: one is that ours has been a particular struggle this year [everything has had an issue of one sort or another] and Sunday's message in worship focused on seeds, weed, gardens and the notion that a weed may not be what it seems. In fact, weeds are more like humans than any other plant. They grow where they please, even in terrible conditions, are quite stubborn and multiply quickly. Though the master gardener (God/Spirit) may weed the garden, she can see the same potential in the weed to bloom as in any showy flower.

In that vein, we were asked to imagine what plant we would be. My wonderful friend next to me wondered out loud if she were an orchid. "I think a big, giant colorful sunflower, grown together with others and kids playing underneath," I offered. She smiled, then asked what I might consider for myself. An herb, Rosemary, no doubt about it. Didn't even have to think as it IS my favorite. "Yeah, growing out with a quiet presence," she said. I had thought more of its ancient roots and healing qualities, but rather like her take.

The deeper I entered into silent worship, the more the idea of companion planting struck me. You know, when you plant things next to each other that nurture one another, like tomatoes and basil or eggplants and peppers. The idea of depicting each of my communities (faith, neighborhood, family and circles of friends) as gardens is something I wish to explore more fully. I think as companion plants, we are charged with helping each other: nourishing the weak, leaning on the strong, negating pests and disease for one another, encouraging growth, recognizing one another's beauty and belonging to something larger than ourselves.

I also don't necessarily find weeds a foe (though in the garden and some beds, I do remove them); rather, they fascinate me with their obstinance and ability to grow anywhere with so little care and nurturing. Sometimes, I wish I had more of that in me; however, I think I would be less shaped into the person I am becoming. But if a weed has a soul (ok, take this as a metaphor), in what state is it with no tending, no companioning, strictly fending for itself ... alone?

Think I'll stick with my companions.

• What plant would I be in the garden?
• Who are my companions?
• How do I companion?
• What do I see as a weed?
• When have I experienced beauty or awe at a weed?

prickly and thick
so much so
the deer are repelled

yet fragrant, soothing, beautiful
and alluring to bees
when flowering

restorative and healing
dancing on the palate
in stews, bread and
exotic dishes

hailed as the cure-all
from weddings to

I desire the essence
of the rosemary plant

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