Wisdom from the Weeds

Mailbox_Planters.jpg

With Spring always around in Florida, I've become obsessed with cleaning, decluttering and most recently: gardening. There is very fertile soil in my parents backyard and I plan on taking full advantage of it. Unfortunately, Pinterest has ruined my simple gardening plans with thoughts of raised beds (that I am never going to build on my own) and blooms that won't make it a day here (what am I? Zone 5?).

I decided to start simply with planting in our mailbox. A few years ago, some dumbass hit the mailbox and my dad built a new one. Out of concrete.  Don't you love the passive aggressiveness?

On each side of the mailbox is a little semi-circle of dirt dedicated to some blooms. For a while now,they have sat empty. This week, I found some cute plants that probably won't make it in the sun and I set to planting it.

The right side was easy. I tilled the soil (is that what it's called?). I dug, pulled out a few lonely weeds here and there and then planted these badboys:

On the other side, however, I found a lot of dried up weeds and what could've been plants trying to make their way out.  As I started tilling the soil I found it difficult and wondered why. And I started questioning why one side was perfectly okay while the other, though it seemed was exactly the same, was not.

Then I realized that there were these roots spread all around the left side. You could see  nothing if you simply looked at it once you pulled up the little growth that was on the surface. But upon trying to till the soil, one could feel a spiderweb of these invisible plants growing beneath.  As I pulled these roots I had these thoughts strike me:

If I hadn't taken the time to till the soil and I would've just planted my flowers here, these invisible roots would've choked the new plants and drained them of their nutrients.

In that moment, I felt like something had been revealed to me about relationships.  At times, we think everything is great. It looks great, it might even feel great on the surface.  But, if you try to plant something new and beautiful without first tilling the earth and ensuring that the weeds of the past have been appropriately dug out of the soil, it will be suffocated by the invisible growth not apparent to our eyes.

I thought this was such a revelation with regards to people in general. These past few months have been quite challenging as I've been struggling and dealing with my dad. The planters reminded me distinctly of my parents. My mother, always smiling and helpful. With a few weeds here and there but nothing that a child couldn't pull out with their bare hands (and the frog princess did just that).  And my dad, on the side of where the sun lays its shadow day in and day out. Growing strong roots of sadness, rancor and never being able to just let go. Having fertile enough soil where he'd want to see beautiful things planted but, not realizing that without the proper work tilling that soil and pulling out the things that ultimately do not matter, none of the beautiful things that he yearns to grow will ever bloom.

This is the wisdom I learned from the weeds. I hope I dug enough, tilled enough and uprooted enough of the growth so that my plants can bloom and flourish.