Karen Maezen Miller’s “Weeds”

I am just going to quote what I found in Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly, in the summer 2014 issue. This is from Karen Maezen Miller’s book: Paradise in Plain Sight  published by New World Library, May 2014:

“In these sixteen years of gardening, I have not yet learned how to garden. My most useful tools are the ones farthest from my hands: sun and water. I have not planted a single thing still standing. In all this time in the yard, I have cultivated no worthwhile skills save one that is decidedly unskilled: I weed.

I offer this up as a modest qualification because I have noticed how reluctantly most people bring themselves to the task. Weeding is not a popular pastime, even among gardeners. Weeds are the very emblem of aversion. Weeding doesn’t produce a rewarding outcome. No grand finale, no big reveal. There’s absolutely nothing to show for it.

While I was casting about for something to do for the rest of my life,  I hit on a scheme. I’d seen how common it was for an otherwise respectable yard to be surrendered over to the wilderness for the lack of a spade. And the worse it got, the worse it gets. I suggested to my husband that I start an enterprise – not for landscape design or decoration, for which I was unsuited, but just for weeding. I would call it “Just Weeds.” I would go over to people’s houses every week and just pull weeds – probably weeds they didn’t even know they had! I thought it was inspired, but he thought it was lame. So instead I do it every day for no pay. This is how your life becomes rich with purpose. You take care of things that lie right under your feet, and no one even notices.

The most common weeds in the yard are crabgrass, dandelion, and chickweed. The most common weeds in the world are greed, anger, and ignorance.

This is the way to weed. Anchor yourself low to the ground so you can get a good look at what you’re dealing with. Use a spade to loosen the hardpack and go deeper. The next part is tricky. Take hold of the stem and apply your attention, allowing the root to release. Haste and carelessness will only aggravate the situation. Sometimes you can get the root on the first tug. Other times you’ll just tear off the top. Even if you don’t get it all the first time, that’s okay. It may take two or three, ten or twenty, one hundred thousand million times to get the root completely. Just keep going along like that, encountering the next weed that appears in front of you for the rest of your life.”