Monday, March 18, 2013

Weeding as a Metaphor for Life

Awhile back, I saw a post or a tweet or something in which someone asked: what chore do you actually like doing? (Notice my stellar memory at work there- I can't remember any of the details!)

At the time, I thought: are you crazy? Chores are things I don't like doing! Isn't that the definition of a chore?

But this weekend, I was outside weeding in our front yard and I realized that actually, weeding is a chore I like doing. We have our front yard landscaped with native plants, which makes the yard low water use- or really, no water use. We don't water our front yard anymore. The yard is also relatively low maintenance, but in the winter and spring time, particularly after it rains, we get weeds.

The thing is, when I go out to pull weeds, it is on one of the nice days after the rain. So I get to sit in the sun (or occasionally, the pseudo-sun of one of our cloudy days) and enjoy the outdoors. If I'm lucky, Mr. Snarky keeps the kids occupied, or they want to color with chalk on the driveway, and I can let my mind wander while I systematically pull up weeds. There is obvious progress. I get fresh air. I might even get peace and quiet. What's not to like?

I've written before how I find weeding to be an apt metaphor for life. I continue to find lessons in weeding. Here are my latest:

Something can be really pretty. If it is growing where you don't want it, it is still a weed.

Pretty. But still a weed.
You don't have to completely conquer a problem. Sometimes, it is enough to just make it better.

It is best to wait until the rain stops and the ground dries a bit before you try to pull weeds, or you'll bring up a lot more of the soil that you really want.

The big things are sometimes easier to fix than the little ones.


Do you have any life lessons from chores?


  1. Funny, I spent some time weeding this morning.

    I don't enjoy it. I have allergies. It's my DH's job and he's really good at "forgetting" to do it.

    I like hanging the laundry out on the line. It's a good upper body workout and provides an opportunity for me to examine the clothes in outdoor light for wear, tear and stains. Now that I make most of our clothes, it's also a good time to admire them and reflect on a job well done.

  2. A college roommate shared a piece of buddhist wisdom.

    "If while washing dishes, we think only of the cup of tea that awaits us, thus hurrying to get the dishes out of the way as they were a nuisance, then we are ... completely incapable of realizing the miracle of life while standing at the sink. If we can't wash the dishes, the chances are we won't be able to drink our tea either." Thich Nhat Hanh, A Manual on Meditation

    I've since then learned to enjoy washing dishes. The last few years, living in situations when the heating doesn't quite work right in winter, it is also an excuse to warm myself up.

    1. i love this *so* much. thank you. works to frame all those icky parenting tasks in a better way, too :)

  3. Anonymous5:58 AM

    Laundry folding:

  4. Hmm, I don't really like weeding, so I mulch everything as much as possible. I listen to Science Friday and other podcasts while doing dishes, so I don't mind too much. I watch movies while folding, but I haven't figured out how to enjoy putting them away. Having my 3-year-old boy *help* vacuum actually makes it fun, he encourages me to do "just one more room, Mommy." I do enjoy cooking, and that could be a chore for some people.

  5. Like the observation that dealing with the big stuff can be easier than dealing with the small stuff. The tiny weeds are a pain!

  6. I always found washing dishes to be satisfying. Its gross & dirty and 30 seconds later, VOILA, shiny & clean! And in the winter time, its nice to have your hands in warm water. I also don't mind laundry folding as long as I can watch something while I'm doing it OR when my 3-year old comes up to "help" (jump on the bed and occasionally find some of his own clothes). We don't have a garden (or a yard for that matter), but unless its hot or mosquito-y outside, I always did find weed pulling a bit cathartic.


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