Friday, May 23, 2008

In the Weeds

Restaurant people have a saying for when you get behind. When you have a crazy amount of tables to serve or the kitchen is backed up or folks are lining up out the door getting antsy, foodies say you're "in the weeds." When I get too busy with work, my personal life feels like it's in the weeds. Rick and I have different schedules and when we don't see each other often, it's easy to take our relationship for granted. This past weekend, he took Saturday off, so we had a rare weekend together. We went to Collin's last soccer game together; we went swimming at one our favorite pools; we had dinner at O'Hana's with friends. We weeded; got back to what's important; reconnected. Isn't marriage that kind of process? I much prefer that kind of weeding, getting back to the important things in a relationship to the kind of weeding I did in my neglected garden yesterday.

I tackled a few of the literal weeds. More than a year ago, Rick and I put down landscaping fabric in our flower beds. We have a few very large beds in our yard and it made sense at the time to minimize maintenance needs by covering the soil with this weed barrier. I don't think I'll ever do that again. I think the weed fabric gave me a false sense of garden-security. Who needs to weed when you have a weed barrier? After a half an hour of frustrated hoeing, I realized that I could pull the weed barrier up. Literally I could pull the rug out from under the weeds and take them with me. So, that's what I did. I ripped it out--well, most of it anyway. Guess what? The weeds, roots and all, came with it. Talk about an effective way to weed. Rip, yank, pull, shred, tear. It was fast and strangely satisfying. Now, I think the ground is happier. That weed fabric must have felt like wearing polyester in the summer heat. It was smothering the dirt.

As I worked in the garden after school yesterday, I realized that to get rid of weeds, you've just got to start pulling--getting your hands dirty by digging in the dirt. Weed fabric might be a temporary fix, but in the long run it seems to cause more problems than it prevents. Can you see the root systems living in that stuff? Nothing replaces maintenance. Nothing replaces time spent on a task or in a relationship. There are no silver bullets when you're in the weeds.

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