I’ve been thinking a lot about weeds this summer. They are everywhere. Copious amounts grow in my own yard and garden beds. Driving along the TCH in Newfoundland I even saw them growing straight out the side of solid rock. It got me thinking about the resiliency of weeds. How they can grow and, in fact, prosper in the most unlikely of places and in places where they were never planted or intended to grow in the first place. How the second we spot a weed we pluck it from its roots and toss it aside, declaring our gardens more beautiful with each one’s removal.
Before long, I started to compare myself, once again, to a weed. Here in Ottawa, I find myself in a place I never wanted to be and, for as long as I live here, in a place to which I will never feel like I belong. And yet, I grow and change and I become. Outsiders like me, and weeds, are often held back or cut down by our presumed lack of worth. The moment a gardener sees a weed, he pulls it. I have often felt that with every step I take forward, something or someone (or my stupid job) makes me feel like I’ve actually taken two steps back. Yet, somehow, we (the weeds and I) bounce back. We take a beating, and get knocked down but only long enough to recharge and gather our strength. And then we come back and try all over again. We rally well. We are resilient - to change, to adversity, to the willpower of others. We get knocked down easily but we don't stay down for long.
I have never really understood my own personal purpose. I have never been truly great at something. Anything, really. In everything, I have aspired to simply be average because for so long I felt less than so. I am not gifted with raw, untapped talent though I do believe I would have been a good musician given half the chance. I love music. I would have been the awesome drummer.
While I can’t google “what is the purpose of me?” and expect a valid explanation, I can google “what is the purpose of weeds?” and become enlightened. (I also once googled “what is the purpose of mosquitos?” after serving them a five course meal off the back of my legs one buggy evening a few summers ago.)
The answer I found was interesting. I have always felt that there is a connection between all living things in the most primal ways. For example, I read that each weed has three purposes, which is to grow, flower and produce babies. With a solid, Catholic education as evidentiary support, of course, I have long believed that humans served one purpose and had only one job – to procreate. The growing and flowering part just makes the socialist journey we are on more challenging, rewarding those who can and rejecting those who can’t.
I also read that sometimes weeds will help hold up other plants, shade them from the sun, or take an insect attack on behalf of others. If weeds were people, wouldn’t they be awesome to have on your side? Wouldn’t you love to have someone around whose sole purpose in life is to hold you up when you can’t do it for yourself? Or to protect you from the elements? Or best of all, take the mosquito bullet for you? If weeds were people, they would be my very best friends.
The next time my neighbour complains about the number of weeds we have, I will shush her and tell her to keep her hands off my kinfolk.